by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | October 10, 2022
From the October 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Specific to radiation oncology, the pandemic promoted the ongoing trend to provide shorter courses of treatment, when doing so did not adversely affect patient outcomes. This trend is likely to have a continuing impact on patterns of care in our field.
Early in the pandemic, we could see the burdens of disease and hospitalization were greater for underrepresented minority communities. This stark reality also highlighted systemic inequities that exist for access and care in the United States. We now see an invigorated focus across the health care system to address these disparities and make high-quality care accessible to all.
We also are seeing the downstream effects of delays in screening and physician visits during the pandemic. Most alarmingly, post-pandemic restrictions, we are seeing more patients presenting with more advanced cancers.
And finally, the pandemic itself was enormously stressful on the healthcare workforce, causing healthcare professionals at all levels to leave the field. These shifts will likely have a permanent impact on hospital and clinic staffing.
HCB News: What are some of the events or sessions you're most looking forward to at this year's Annual Meeting?
I’m looking forward to an exciting meeting. For the Presidential Symposium, the theme — Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Emotional Intelligence (EI) — gives us the scope to explore different ideas. The AI sessions will address how we can apply these tools in the radiation oncology clinic to improve the treatment process, as well as how we can harness AI to increase access to care and make clinical trials more diverse. Another session will look at the science of radiation toxicity and techniques to mitigate side effects for our patients. The final session will focus on doctors and patients as humans and our capacity to care for our patients in ways that can’t be achieved by a computer or an algorithm.
We have great keynote speakers. Sociologist Dr. Ruha Benjamin will discuss the potential for discrimination being ingrained in algorithms in medicine and other areas of society. Dr. Richard Deming, a private practice radiation oncologist and expert in active cancer survivorship, will talk about living a meaningful life “above and beyond cancer.”
As always, our scientific sessions, especially our Plenary and Clinical Trials Sessions, will present major advances in radiation oncology research from the past year. In addition, we will cover timely topics such as cybersecurity, the carbon footprint of radiation oncology and providing oncology care in Ukraine during conflict.