(HealthDay News) — Given the current challenges in cancer care, six components that are integral to a comprehensive, patient-centered, high-quality cancer care delivery system have been identified, according to a report published Sept. 10 by the Institute of Medicine.

Noting that cancer care is often not as patient-centered, accessible, coordinated, or evidence-based as it could be, Patricia A. Ganz, M.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined opportunities for and challenges to the delivery of high-quality cancer care, and developed recommendations for improvement.

The authors note that challenges to care include non-evidence-based decision making due to the complexity of cancer, poor communication, inadequate palliative care, and changing demographics. They identified six components of a high-quality cancer care delivery system. These include patient engagement, in which the system supports patients making informed medical decisions; an adequately staffed, trained, and coordinated workforce; evidence-based care, based on research such as clinical trials and comparative effectiveness research; use of a learning health information technology system; incorporation of new medical knowledge into clinical practice; and having a system that is accessible to all patients and uses payment models to reward patient-centered, high-quality care.

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“Most clinicians caring for cancer patients are trying to provide optimal care, but they’re finding it increasingly difficult because of a range of barriers,” Ganz said in a statement. “As a nation we need to chart a new course for cancer care. Changes are needed across the board, from how we communicate with patients, to how we translate research into practice, to how we coordinate care and measure its quality.”

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