ACCC Honors Seven Cancer Programs With Innovator Awards

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ACCC Honors Seven Cancer Programs With Innovator Awards

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, Wauwatosa

To overcome the challenges to scheduling and coordination common to traditional tumor boards, Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospitals developed a dynamic discussion platform for case planning not hindered by time and location constraints. The model, Electronic Multidisciplinary Conference, known as eMDC, 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 1-year pilot, the number of patients discussed by the interdisciplinary team increased fourfold, and the hospital saw significant improvements in care coordination and strengthened communication across the care continuum.

LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at UT Health Austin, Dell Medical School, Austin

To provide optimal whole-person care, the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes changed the traditional physician-centric clinic model to an approach that empowers a diverse team of providers to serve the mind, body, and spirit of patients with cancer, 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. The program, known as Cancer Life reiMagined: The CaLM Model of Whole-Person Cancer Care, tailors support services and approaches cancer as a chronic condition that requires long-term, whole-person care.

New England Cancer Specialists, Scarborough, Maine

Food insecurity affects 15.8% of Maine residents, making it the third-most food insecure state in the nation. When staff at New England Cancer Specialists discovered their patients were among those in need, the practice initiated a partnership with a local food bank where patients can collect groceries privately 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.

University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora

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 6-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

Revenue protection at UNC Hospitals, including the Lineberger Cancer Center, is dependent on optimized drug reimbursement at its infusion centers. As precertification requirements expanded, the UNC Department of Pharmacy developed a closed-loop, pharmacy-managed, precertification 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.

WellSpan Cancer Centers, York, Pennsylvania

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 because it is connected to WellSpan’s electronic health record, clinicians can use the app data to monitor patient symptoms and side effects.

Yuma Regional Medical Center Cancer Center,Yuma, Arizona

Accessing cancer-related genetic counseling and testing services in this community has been difficult. With no genetic counselors in Yuma, a 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 4 months of the initiative, there was a fourfold increase in genetic testing of patients with cancer, affecting the clinical management of 20% of those cases.