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Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2017;37:155-159. doi: 10.14694/EDBK_175533.

Perspectives on the Use of Clinical Pathways in Oncology Care.

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From the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA; Michiana Hematology Oncology, South Bend, IN.


Pathways and guidelines are valuable tools to provide evidence-based care in oncology. Pathways may be more restrictive than guidelines because they attempt (where possible) to reduce cost, add efficiency, and remove unwarranted variability. Pathways offer an opportunity to measure, report, and improve quality of care; they can drive to evidence-based targeted therapy where appropriate; they can enhance efficiency through standardization; and, finally, they can be a vehicle to enhance participation in clinical trials. Pathway implementation requires understanding and commitment on the part of the physician and leadership as they may initially disrupt workflow, but ultimately have the ability to enhance patient care. ASCO criteria have been published for the development and implementation of high-quality oncology pathway programs. Future challenges for pathways include incorporation of molecular testing and appropriate targeted care in a real-time precision oncology approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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