Call for Community Oncologists to Learn About Precision Medicine

The majority of patients in the US (80-85%) receive their cancer care in community or regional cancer centers, while only 15-20% are treated at academic medical centers. This has significant impact on how patients are treated by practicing physicians, and whether precision medicine is applied to their treatment. Even at academic medical centers, the adoption of precision medicine, the incorporation of the science, the idea, the ideology, and the technology is not without challenges.

At the PMWC 2017 Silicon Valley conference, we had an opportunity to listen to an exciting panel that discussed why some physicians are more engaged with precision medicine and apply precision medicine approaches to their patient treatments more readily than others. We learned about what hurdles they are facing in implementing precision medicine in their practices, and what needs to change to achieve widespread adoption across the healthcare system.

Laurence Marton: “The vast amount of knowledge and information around precision medicine and the concept of genomic testing is not shared with vast parts of this country, even in very sophisticated medical centers.”

How to Engage Community Oncologists in Precision Medicine

This timely session– co-chaired by Lincoln Nadauld (Intermountain Healthcare) and Laurence Marton (2014 PMWC Silicon Valley Program Chair) –focused on community oncologists in their quest to integrate and embrace precision oncology and included Kevin Knopf (Cancer Commons), Edmund Tai (Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), and Tim Collins (Scripps Health) as participants.


Some of the main challenges identified by this panel are:

  • Oncologists/physicians are busy seeing many patients (15-20/day) and with record keeping associated with that volume. They have little to no time to learn new things.
    • Knopf: “One has to actively carve out time to learn something new.”
  • Precision medicine reports are challenging to explain to a patient.
    • Knopf: “The last mile problem is to explain to the patient what it means.”
  • When introducing new tools and approaches, resistance is observed.
  • The patients are often more interested than the physicians.
    • Tai: “There is a barrier in terms of access for the patient.”
  • What is known to researchers is new to the physician and there are not many open ears.
    • Nadauld: “We had success implementing precision medicine when we had a group of champions implementing it”
  • Oneof the main challenges in implementing precision medicine is learning and understanding data interpretation.
    • Morton: “There is information overload.”
    • Knopf: “The field is moving so quickly with many new genesidentified as being relevant.”
  • There is a knowledge gap.
    • Tai: “The main reason some of the physicians do not order a test is the fear of the unknown.”

Key takeaway messages:

  • We need to do a better job standardizing precision medicineand adopting new technologyfor clinical practice and getting the information out to the clinicians so that it is actionable.
  • We need to better translate the science into clinical care.
  • We need to work out the payor equation.
  • We need to include the patient expectation as part of the equation.
  • We need to make technology adoption pervasive.
  • Last, but not least: “We need to educate and enable the physician.”

We at PMWC believe that our conferences are ideal for this type of physician education.  The PMWC conference series offers:

  • An opportunity to learn about the latest technological advancements and scientific findings that propel precision medicine.
  • A venue for oncologists to engage with other physicians in a collegial setting to learn first-hand about their experiences in applying precision medicine.
  • Engagement with patients who are eager to share their experiences.
  • A place to learn from payors about the challenges they are overcoming to advance adoption of precision medicine in the clinic.
  • An opportunity for dedicated time away from all distractions, to focus on this important topic.
  • Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits

Physician education opportunity at PMWC 2017 Duke – sessions that will help overcome precision medicine adopting challenges:

See the full PMWC 2017 Duke program with all the session and speakers presenting.

Don’t miss out on this educational opportunity – Register Now.