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For Immediate Release: October 7, 2013
Association of Community Cancer Centers’ 2013 Innovator Award Recipients Take Spotlight at National Oncology Conference
ROCKVILLE, Md.—Ten cancer programs that have developed pioneering solutions to address the challenges of treating cancer patients have received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' 2013 Innovator Awards. Award winning innovations include creating a portable, secure electronic medical record that can travel with a patient in the wake of a natural disaster, a process to streamline cancer patients’ evaluation and management in the emergency room, expanding essential cancer and health screenings through mobile clinics, and improving access to genetic counseling for patients and their family members.
Established in 2011, ACCC's Innovator Awards are sponsored by GE Healthcare to honor exceptional cancer programs that exhibit forward-thinking strategic planning and have developed pioneering, replicable programs for cancer care delivery. The award recipients presented the details and outcomes of their programs at the ACCC National Oncology Conference, October 2-5, 2013, in Boston before an audience of more than 500 cancer care providers from across the country.
"Both ACCC and GE Healthcare are proud to honor programs that are enhancing community cancer care through progressive, patient-focused tools and strategies," said Virginia T. Vaitones, MSW, OSW-C, ACCC President and oncology social worker at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine. "They will provide inspiration and spark new innovations for all of us working in cancer care."
The Innovator Awards are an example of how ACCC members have long been at the forefront of providing quality cancer care. A new report by the Institute of Medicine released September 10, 2013, "Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis," identifies significant deficiencies in the current state of cancer care delivery and makes 10 recommendations for improving oncology care in the United States. Many of this year’s Innovator Award-winning programs directly address issues highlighted in the IOM Report.
The 10 Innovator Award recipients are as follows:
Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, SD. Rural chemotherapy.
As part of its mission to ensure consistent access to quality care for patients in rural areas, Avera Cancer Institute created a process to unify chemotherapy administration standards across 45 sites. The goal was to ensure patient safety and quality care by establishing guidelines and standards of practice. Within nine months of launching the initiative, compliance across all sites that administer chemotherapy was achieved.
Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Pennington Cancer Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Disaster charts provide informational security net for patients.
Hurricane Katrina left cancer patients displaced and their treatments disrupted. Just outside of New Orleans, the Pennington Cancer Center received patients with no records. To complicate matters, phone and fax lines were down and treating physicians were unreachable. Taking lessons learned from that experience, the radiation oncology treatment team developed an emergency chart system—a portable electronic medical record that provides patients with their “must-have” documents in a universal format so that they may quickly resume care if displaced by a disaster.
The George Washington University, GW Cancer Institute, Washington, DC. Catalyzing patient-centered care to exceed new accreditation standards.
A key goal identified in the recent IOM report on the cancer care delivery is to “reduce disparities in access to cancer care for vulnerable and underserved populations.” The GW Cancer Institute’s Citywide Patient Navigation Network is being recognized for exactly this effort. This innovator has developed a program that helps patients navigate their cancer treatment. Lay navigators work with a social worker and nurse navigators to guide patients from screening through treatment and into survivorship care. Based on this program, GW’s Citywide Patient Navigation Network served 2,840 D.C. area residents in 2012—of whom 86 percent were minority and nearly 30 percent were uninsured.
Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, Spartanburg, SC. Integration of palliative care into a medical oncology practice.
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 GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare offers a wide portfolio for oncology and a strategy that combines cellular research, medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, and information technology. These innovative technologies help the oncology community increase their understanding of the causes and progression of cancer and can help physicians make more personalized cancer treatment and management decisions. Recently, GE launched a global healthymagination commitment to help deliver better care to 10 million patients by 2020 through $1 billion in dedicated R&D investment aimed at accelerating cancer treatment progress through innovation.