OneOncology Claims Clinical Trials Increase in COVID-19 Face
OneOncology, the national association of independent group oncologists, said today that enrolling patients at their affiliate practices in clinical trials has increased marginally in March and April, just as the COVID-19 pandemic struck our communities hardest.
Clinical trial accruals occurred at a steady to slightly higher pace at OneOncology partner practices in March and April, while news outlets reported hundreds of clinical trials across the country have been suspended since March 1 due to the outbreak, especially in hospital-based settings that are disproportionately affected by the pandemics.
"Elective medical procedures have stopped, but caring for cancer patients isn't elective," said Jeff Patton, MD, OneOncology's Acting CEO & President of Physician Services. "Not only do community oncology centers remain open providing patients life-saving treatments, we also continue to provide clinical trials at a steady to increased rate. Our centers are continuing to fulfill our collective mission."
When the Medicare and Medicaid Centers (CMS) briefly loosened its rules to allow clinicians to be reimbursed for tele-health services, the agency allowed researchers to keep open such clinical trials by testing and enrolling patients outside the state.
"By loosening the regulations at both the federal and state levels, we were able to evaluate patients for eligibility in clinical trials that we otherwise couldn't because of state licensing requirements," said Dr. Natalie Dickson, Chief Medical Officer at Tennessee Oncology and Chair of OneCouncil, the partnership's all-physician committee. "Now we're able to continue to provide access to these important clinical trials for new patients in other states."
OneOncology also cited that all 400 physicians at its partner practices are linked through a shared technology network, OneCommunity, as a reason why a physician would otherwise not know about being able to enroll state patients efficiently for trials.
"The physician to physician connectivity we're fostering through OneOncology is tremendous," said Lee Schwartzberg, MD, OneOncology's Chief Medical Officer. "From pathway development to getting patients enrolled into clinical trials as the pandemic continues, our physicians, researches and care teams' connection to each other and shared commitment to our patients is why our clinical trial initiatives can continue as trials in other healthcare settings are suspended."
OneOncology is a national partnership of independent, community oncology practices working together to improve the lives of everyone living with cancer through a physician-led, data-driven, technology-powered and patient-centric model. OneOncology is comprised of five large community oncology practices representing over 400 physicians practicing at more than 160 sites of care across the United States.
CONTACT: Eric Hoffman, [email protected]