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By reading this study, members will learn:
- Practices to increase efficiency and improve the patient experience through process redesign
- Key lessons for applying process improvement methodologies
- Elements of a comprehensive support program for cancer patients taking oral therapies
- Tactics for reducing cancer patient ED visits and hospitalizations through comprehensive symptom management
With growth in demand for cancer services expected to outstrip oncologist capacity by 2020, cancer programs need to develop new approaches to meet patient needs. Leaders should begin by fundamentally rethinking their staffing and operational models starting with proven methods to redesign workflows, engage patients and families as partners in their care, and enhance symptom management.
Top priorities: Efficiency and productivity
To prosper in this environment, cancer program leaders must prioritize efficiency and productivity. To that end, this study begins with eight tactics for redesigning workflows to preserve operating margins under fee-for-service while improving the patient experience; however, these ideas are merely a starting point.
More importantly, these case studies illustrate a set of principles to guide cancer program leaders as they work to transform care.
- Standardizing supplies and processes to eliminate waste
- Utilizing data to discern patterns in patient flow, pinpoint problems, and develop solutions
- Enhancing visibility across teams and departments to improve coordination
- Normalizing information intake and flow between individuals to promote collaboration
- Building mechanisms that prompt staff to anticipate and avoid bottlenecks
Focus on patient engagement, symptom management in preparation for reform
Beyond efficiency and productivity, cancer programs must also begin developing the competencies necessary to succeed under value-based payment models.
According to Oncology Roundtable analysis, two of the most leveraged opportunities include engaging patients and families as partners in their care and taking a more proactive approach to symptom management.
With those goals in mind, this study provides an additional four tactics to assist cancer programs with:
1. Providing clear guidance to patients about their role on the care team
2. Orienting new patients and families to the cancer program’s resources and services
3. For patients on oral therapies, delivering personalized education and support
4. Establishing a comprehensive phone triage system for symptom management in order to reduce ED visits and hospitalizations
The Era of Accountability