On the final day of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 2013 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, the top story in The New York Times highlighted the need for women with ovarian cancer to be treated by those most qualified to do so–gynecologic oncologists.
Such exposure gives us an unprecedented opportunity to enact meaningful health care reform in our subspecialty. SGO is already taking action.
In our February 2013 Practice Summit report, we identified new ways to define high quality gynecologic care, to measure and deliver it, and to provide appropriate reimbursement. The report paints a broad brush-putting all the options on the table.
The SGO Quality Committee has begun the next step in defining the quality measures and determining the appropriate benchmarks. One of our first projects in our newly formed Outcomes Research Institute is to start a registry to validate quality measures specifically for gynecologic malignancies. In addition, we are developing mechanisms for quality data collection that minimize the burden on you, because success depends on everyone’s participation.
During our Annual Meeting, we heard Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, one of the architects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, say that bundled payments are under serious consideration in Washington. Under this system, gynecologic oncologists may serve as “team captains” who ensure care follows evidence-based guidelines, achieves quality outcomes measures and meets patient satisfaction benchmarks. SGO is seeking opportunities to test this mechanism in a real-world setting.
Donations to SGO’s Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology and its Outcomes Research Institute will make possible ongoing research to monitor the effectiveness of the care we provide.
With your active participation and support of these SGO initiatives, we can make significant changes in the practice of gynecologic oncology that will improve care and reduce costs. Our Immediate Past President Dr. Ronnie Alvarez, put many of these wheels in motion, and I am honored to serve as your president for the coming year and continue the momentum he built. I welcome your support, your comments and questions. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara A. Goff, MD