The Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) webcast was introduced by Dr Zweigenhaft, Founder of AVBCC, who assembled an exceptional group of experts from across the country to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the healthcare industry. After a few quick welcoming remarks to allow more time for the fast-moving presentations, Dr Zweigenhaft introduced Dr Hudis, who briefly presented ASCO’s outlook on the crisis.
“This is an unprecedented new situation in medicine, and more broadly, in the economy,” said Dr Hudis. Speaking from the perspective of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) about the current situation, he suggested that the oncology community will be tasked with imagining a “new future.”
Dr Hudis laid out the main topics the webcast would probe, offering a useful frame for thinking about the major areas that would reflect the most significant change in the wake of the recent extraordinary circumstances. He noted that the government and other agencies will have to respond to the economic and behavioral changes that will result from this crisis.
“We are living through the greatest economic disruption this country has seen in the better part of a century,” Dr Hudis said. The ways this pandemic will affect medicine may be revealed in a widening of negative disparities in care; a near cessation or slowdown of patient screenings and early interventions for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease; and a severe setback in research progress—all of which “is going to add to the burden of illness and disease in the country in years to come,” he pointed out.
In addition to the economic impact, Dr Hudis predicted that the coronavirus will “generate massive behavioral changes that are at least temporary, and some of them will either be permanent or will gently shape the way we act in the years after this.”
As for the response to the crisis, Dr Hudis noted that “we are in triage mode right now.” He offered a concise review of the provisions of the main stimulus packages to date, detailing what ASCO is doing to support its members, employees, and patients with cancer—from advocacy, to remote working, to webinars and other public information dissemination—as we grapple with this new foe.