The Association of Community Cancer Centers honored the recipients of 2019 ACCC Innovator Awards at the ACCC 36th National Oncology Conference in Orlando, Florida, where this year’s honorees shared innovative strategies and lessons learned from their own experience to enable others to model and scale similar initiatives.
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) honored the recipients of 2019 ACCC Innovator Awards at the ACCC 36th National Oncology Conference, October 30 — November 1 in Orlando, Florida, where this year’s honorees shared innovative strategies and lessons learned from their own experience to enable others to model and scale similar initiatives.
Now in its ninth year, the Innovator Awards recognize ACCC member programs for their ingenuity and pioneering achievements in oncology. Innovations advance the goals of improving access, quality, and value in cancer care delivery.
The following ACCC Cancer Program Members are this year’s recipients:
Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospitals
Electronic Multidisciplinary Conference (eMDC): Case Planning in the Virtual Space
To overcome the challenges to scheduling and coordination common to traditional tumor boards, Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospitals developed a dynamic discussion platform not hindered by time and location constraints. The eMDC model facilitates a prospective, real-time approach to case planning, allowing the care team to view case information and engage in ongoing dialogue with their peers at any time. After a one-year pilot, the number of patients discussed by the interdisciplinary team increased four-fold, and the hospital saw significant improvements in care coordination and strengthened communication across the care continuum.
Jonathan Triesman, MD, FACP, told attendees that “creating an electronic asynchronous multidisciplinary conference (eMDC) enabled us to quadruple the number of cases discussed in one year’s time.”
LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at UT Health Austin/Dell Medical School
Cancer Life reiMagined: The CaLM Model of Whole-Person Cancer Care
To provide optimal whole-person care, the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes flipped the traditional physician-centric clinic model with an approach that empowers a diverse team of providers to serve the mind, body, and spirit of cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and loved ones. Oncologists, advance practice providers, palliative care experts, social workers, therapists, nutritionists, financial navigators, and others work together to prioritize both quality of life and optimal disease treatment. LIVESTRONG Cancer Institute’s CaLM Model tailors support services and approaches cancer as a chronic condition that requires long-term, whole-person care.
New England Cancer Specialists
Food Security: A Key Component in One Practice’s Financial Advocacy Program
Food insecurity affects 15.8 percent of Maine residents, making it the third-most food insecure state in the nation. When staff at New England Cancer Specialists (NECS) discovered their patients were among those in need, the practice initiated a partnership with a local food bank where patients can discreetly collect bags of groceries when picking up their medications at the pharmacy. This staff observation led to a new opportunity for an enhanced level of care coordination in their community oncology practice.
According to Tracey Weisberg, MD, “You should never assume you know who your food insecure patients are.” The practice found that 97 percent of the patients that screened as food insecure had health insurance coverage.
University of Colorado Cancer Center
Telemedicine Improves Access to Supportive Group Psychotherapy for Young Adults with Cancer
The University of Colorado Cancer Center developed a telemedicine psychotherapy support group designed specifically for young adult patients with cancer. Those who would not have been able to attend regularly due to long geographic distances, severe weather, and health issues—such as immunosuppression and hospitalization—were able to join their peers virtually. All participants completed the six-week pilot program and cited high rates of patient satisfaction, with increased access to mental health services, companionship, and reduced travel time as top benefits.
University of North Carolina Hospital, Department of Pharmacy
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Reducing Revenue Loss and Patient Financial Toxicity with Pharmacy Pre-Certification and Denials Management
Revenue protection at UNC Hospitals, including the Lineberger Cancer Center, is dependent on optimized drug reimbursement at its infusion centers. As pre-certification requirements expanded, the UNC Department of Pharmacy developed a closed-loop, pharmacy-managed, pre-certification and denials management program, serving as an innovative model that provides significant added institutional and patient value. This approach has helped to both mitigate institutional risk of revenue loss due to denied claims and alleviate patient distress due to the financial toxicity associated with treatment.
Suzanne Francart, PharmD, BCPS, assistant director of pharmacy at UNC Hospital, said that the “closed-loop, pharmacy-managed pre-certification and denials program has led to almost unbelievable health system collaboration.”
WellSpan Cancer Centers
Developing and Implementing a Radiation Oncology App to Improve the Patient Experience
Dissatisfied with the limited support in their patient education materials, the WellSpan Oncology Service Line developed a mobile app to offer its radiation oncology patients on-demand access to treatment- and disease-specific education. The app incorporates patient appointment and treatment schedules, a symptom tracker, secure messaging with care team members, access to support services, and more. And since it’s connected to WellSpan’s EHR, clinicians can use the app data to monitor patient symptoms and side effects.
Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center
Implementing Genetic Cancer Screening and Testing in a Medically-Underserved Community
Historically, accessing cancer-related genetic counseling and testing services in this community has been difficult. With no genetic counselors in this geographically expansive, medically underserved city of 200,000, those who wanted genetic counseling services, often had to travel more than 180 miles to do so. To improve patient access, Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center joined forces with Myriad Genetics—a molecular diagnostic testing company—to offer genetic testing to appropriate patients who were flagged in the registration intake process prior to their first visit. After completing a hereditary cancer quiz, potential candidates are referred to a genetic counselor, who provides tele-education and conducts testing, if warranted. Within the first four months, there was a four-fold increase in genetic testing of cancer patients, affecting the clinical management of 20 percent of those cases.
For more information on the 2019 Innovator Awards including a compilation video featuring each of the winners, go here. For photos or interviews with any of the Innovator Award winners contact Lori Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.