Doctors test active surveillance care model to prevent overtreatment of prostate cancer

Urologists from the University of California, Sand Diego, School of Medicine have collaborated with Genesis Healthcare Partners to test a new model of care for managing low-risk prostate cancer patients, according to results of a study published in the journal Urology.

The evidence-based approach is designed to avoid overtreatment of the disease by using best practices to guide the selection and care of patients with low-risk prostate cancer, said senior author Christopher Kane, MD, in a university press release.

"Active surveillance is a strategy that is recommended by physician and quality organizations to avoid the overtreatment of slow-growing prostate cancer," he said. "Acceptance of this strategy by patients and urologists, however, has lagged for a number of reasons. What we have developed is a safe method to enhance acceptance and use of this disease management approach."

The care model, which consists of standardized selection criteria based on scientific literature for patients to be followed with active surveillance, was tested on 190 patients at the researchers’ facility.

They found that active surveillance increased among low-risk patients from 44 percent to 83 percent under the newly implemented care management model.

"With this new model, we were able to increase rates of surveillance to benefit patients through use of provider education and a standardized report card," lead author Franklin Gaylis, MD, said in the release. "This model may be particularly helpful as the U.S. switches from a volume to value-based system of care for reimbursement requiring physicians to improve quality while at the same time reducing cost."