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The Enhancing Oncology Model: Leveraging improvement science to increase health equity in value-based care.

Patel TA, Jain B, Parikh RB. The Enhancing Oncology Model: Leveraging improvement science to increase health equity in value-based care. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2023 Feb 8; 115(2):125-130.

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The Oncology Care Model (OCM), launched in 2016 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was the first demonstration of value-based payment in oncology. Although the OCM delivered mixed results in terms of quality of care and total episode costs, the model had no statistically significant impact on remediating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities among beneficiaries. These deficits have been prominent in other aspects of US healthcare, and as a result, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has advocated for stakeholders to leverage improvement science, an applied science that focuses on implementing rapid cycles for change, to identify and overcome barriers to health equity. With the announcement of the new Enhancing Oncology Model, a continuation of the OCM's efforts in introducing value to cancer care for episodes surrounding chemotherapy administration, both policymakers and providers must apply tenets of improvement science and make eliminating disparities in alternative payment models a forefront objective. In this commentary, we discuss previous inequities in alternative payment models, the role that improvement science plays in addressing health-care disparities, and steps that stakeholders can take to maximize equitable outcomes in the Enhancing Oncology Model.

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