Oncology Organizations Release New Standards for Medical Home Care


The ASCO-COA Oncology Medical Home standards offer a roadmap for comprehensive high-quality, patient-centered cancer care delivery.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) have jointly released new Oncology Medical Home (OMH) standards with the goal of providing a comprehensive roadmap for oncology practices. The OMH standards were recently published in ASCO’s JCO Oncology Practice journal.1,2

In releasing the new standards, ASCO and COA are aiming to achieve a broad consensus among patients, clinicians, payers, purchasers, and employers on what patients with cancer should expect and receive from their cancer care teams. According to the 2 organizations, a goal of the OMH standards is to establish core elements needed to deliver equitable, high-quality cancer care.1

“Every single patient has the right to high-quality, evidence-based, and cost-effective cancer care. However, our challenge as clinicians and as a broader oncology community has been to define what that high-quality cancer care looks like,” said ASCO President Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, in a press release. “These new, comprehensive standards will remove ambiguity and serve as a strong foundation for all stakeholders to work together to ensure that every single person receives the care they deserve, throughout the entire patient journey.”

According to ASCO and COA, the OMH standards include the following elements:1

  • Patient engagement and empowerment in decision-making about their cancer care, which includes individualized treatment plans, survivorship plans, and access to financial navigation.
  • Patient access to cancer care at the right time, and in the right setting. Providers should use a symptom triage system and offer expanded access to timely office care to minimize emergency room visits.
  • Evidence and value-based treatment. Providers should document their adherence to comprehensive clinical pathways that reflect the latest clinical research, in addition to recommending and referring patients to clinical trials (as appropriate).
  • Patient access to equitable, comprehensive, and coordinated, team-based care. Oncology care teams should closely coordinate each patient’s care and include patient navigation, psychosocial care, and support services as part of the care team. Practices must have policies in place to address health equity, including awareness of conscious/unconscious bias.
  • Continuous practice quality improvement using data, such as patient surveys and patient-reported outcomes, to evaluate and improve processes and outcomes.
  • Patient access to advance care planning discussions, palliative, and end-of-life care. Practices should also hold a ‘goals of care’ discussion with all patients.
  • Practice adherence to the highest-level chemotherapy safety standards per QOPI Certification Program Standards.

According to ASCO and COA, implementation of the OMH standards will address issues that include appropriate use of oncology drugs, safe and efficient delivery of these medications, patient-centered care coordination, effective communication, informed decision making, and planning. By establishing a universal benchmark for high-quality cancer care delivery, the partnering organizations are striving to provide an opportunity for the oncology community to work towards a value-based model of care that will benefit all patients with cancer.1

“These new OMH standards provide oncology practices with a single set of cancer care delivery expectations that benefit patients, practices, and other stakeholders,” said COA President Kashyap Patel, MD, in a press release. “As practices transition into value-based care delivery, those that adopt this framework will be able to focus on a standardized process that measurably demonstrates high-quality, patient-centered, and efficient care.”

The ASCO-COA OMH standards were developed based on a systematic review of evidence that included peer-reviewed studies, clinical pathway studies, and a systematic review of survivorship care plans, along with consensus of a multidisciplinary expert panel, comprising clinicians, health system administrators, and patient advocates. The standards also were approved by COA’s Payment Reform Committee and the ASCO Board of Director prior to publication.1

According to ASCO and COA, the new standards are the foundation of a 2-year OMH certification pilot program led by ASCO. At the conclusion of the pilot program, the standards are expected to be assessed and modified as needed.2


  1. New ASCO-COA Oncology Medical Home Standards Set High Bar, Offers Roadmap for Comprehensive High-quality, Patient-Centered Cancer Care Delivery [news release]. July 13, 2021; Community Oncology Alliance. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://communityoncology.org/new-asco-coa-oncology-medical-home-standards-set-high-bar-offers-roadmap-for-comprehensive-high-quality-patient-centered-cancer-care-delivery/
  2. Woofter K, Kennedy EB, Adelson K, et al. Oncology Medical Home: ASCO and COA standards. JCO Oncol Pract. Published July 13, 2021. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/OP.21.00167
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