Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2013 Innovator Award Recipients Take Spotlight at National Oncology Conference

Published: Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013

Patient-centered care requires a holistic approach to patient needs, including palliative care. Palliative care is not the forgoing of active treatment, but the provision of services that treat the entire well-being and comfort of a patient battling cancer. It is often used in combination with active chemotherapy and other anti-cancer treatment. However, palliative care services are often only available in an inpatient setting, while much of cancer care is delivered in the outpatient setting. This quality improvement initiative integrated a half-day supportive care clinic into the medical oncology practice, expanding palliative care services beyond the inpatient setting. Program successes include increased patient satisfaction and reduced distress symptoms.

Methodist Healthcare System, Methodist Cancer Center, San Antonio, TX. Emergent care for oncology patients via the VIP (very immunocompromised patient) program.

The Methodist Cancer Center developed a process for rapid assessment and management of cancer patients with a low white blood cell count presenting to the emergency department. Designed by a multidisciplinary team at the Methodist Cancer Center, the VIP Program quickly evaluates and treats oncology patients in the ED. A VIP Kit educates patients on when to report to the ED and improves coordination of care with community-based physicians.

St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI), Boise, ID. Improving oncology genetic counseling.

In recognition of the importance of genetic testing and risk assessment in clinical care, many accreditation bodies, including the Commission on Cancer, are including the provision of genetic risk assessment in their standards. Providing those living in rural communities access to these services is challenging. MSTI addressed two barriers, access to qualified genetic specialists and patient identification, through a two-pronged approach—telehealth and weekly chart review. The result is improved convenience and access, cost savings, and improved quality of care.

Temple University Hospital, Temple Cancer Program, Philadelphia, PA. Creating transparency with an electronic dosimetry whiteboard.

Treatment plan delays led to decreased patient satisfaction, care delays, low employee morale, and potential lost revenue. To solve this challenge, Temple University Hospital needed to improve communication between staff members and complete tasks in a timely way. An electronic dosimetry “whiteboard” that centrally displays the status of every case increased transparency and communication and identified potential bottlenecks, allowing the staff to make process changes. The whiteboard led to improved patient satisfaction and employee morale as well as increased accountability.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, Fort Worth, Klabzuba Cancer Center, Fort Worth, TX. Community/corporate collaborations for mobile health outreach.

When Klabzuba Cancer Center discovered that patients using mobile mammography services had unmet healthcare needs beyond mammograms, they adapted their mobile clinics to provide additional services including cancer, cardiovascular, and bone density screenings, pelvic and clinical breast examinations, and education for each service. By bringing care to work sites and rural locations, the mobile units remove barriers to care access. Partnerships with businesses, government agencies, and other local organizations enable them to provide services to a diverse and widespread population.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dallas, TX. CancerGene Connect—creating a virtual genetic counseling environment.

University of Texas Simmons Cancer Center has developed CancerGene Connect, a patient-driven online genetic risk assessment program. Using the program, patients complete an online family and medical history that allows genetic counselors to calculate patient risk before the patient's visit. Using CancerGene Connect cuts evaluation and documentation time in half and expands the program without increasing staff or compromising patient care.

Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Implementation of a community-based program for cancer survivors and caregivers.

Helping cancer survivors maintain healthy diet and exercise routines is challenging. Winship Cancer Institute implemented the community-based “Winship at the Y” program in collaboration with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta's THE COACH APPROACH©. In the first nine months of the program, almost 100 survivors and caregivers were referred for enrollment. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the program also offers cancer awareness and screening activities around Atlanta.

For further details and videos highlighting each of the award-winning programs, go to www.accc-cancer.org/innovator.

About the Association of Community Cancer Centers

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