Randall A. Oyer, MD
You would expect patients with suspected lung cancer to be eager to receive care, but that isn’t always the case. MaineGeneral Health, of Augusta, Maine, has had to combat an “I’m going to die from something anyway” attitude that makes patients unlikely to follow up with care recommendations and referrals.
For the 1-year final phase, which begins in October 2017, seven ACCC member programs, including 2 cancer centers that participated as development sites, were chosen to test the OCCM by implementing quality improvement projects. “The purpose of the study is to put together coordination programs with more timely access and better outcomes for people who may be underserved by the general medical processes and may have additional medical problems or comorbidities that may require time, attention, and coordination in addition to lung cancer treatment,” said Randall A. Oyer, MD, oncology director of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Along with Christopher Lathan, MD, a medical oncologist in the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Oyer serves as both the project co-principal investigator and co-chair of the project advisory committee.
Strength of Innovation Defined by Magnitude of Problem
Some intensely challenging problems and innovative solutions were documented as part of the first, investigational phase of the project. At MaineGeneral, the difficulty of getting patients to show up for treatment was compounded by their lack of resources and their tendency to shun treatment. Many suspected cases of lung cancer were picked up only when patients turn up at emergency departments (EDs), which they rely on for primary care. Primary care physicians (PCPs) also tended not to appreciate the value of low-dose computed tomography scans and neglected to have pathology done when sending abnormal images, requiring fresh scans and biopsies at the cancer center.
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