Hundreds of oncology professionals will gather in Phoenix, Arizona, to share best practices and creative approaches that address the most pressing issues facing cancer programs in communities around the country.
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) will honor the recipients of 2018 ACCC Innovator Awards at the ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference, October 17-19 in Phoenix, Arizona, where this year’s honorees will share strategies and lessons learned from their own experience to enable others to model and scale similar initiatives.
Now in its eighth year, the Innovator Awards recognize ACCC member programs that have created inventive solutions to challenges commonly faced by cancer programs and practices, as well as the multidisciplinary cancer care team.
The following ACCC Cancer Program Members are this year’s recipients:
Right Place, Right Provider, Right Time: Implementing Our 24-Hour Cancer Clinic
Side effects from cancer therapy may occur at any time—night or day. A missing component of care for these patients is access to experienced oncology providers after clinic hours. The solution? An outpatient cancer clinic that never closes, enabling patients to access care around the clock. As a result, the clinic has seen improvement in symptom management, a decrease in treatment plan interruption, and reduced emergency department (ED) visits. Averaging 130-140 patient visits each month, the 24-Hour Cancer Clinic demonstrated a 10.7% decrease in ED utilization; a 56%, 32%, and 11% decrease in radiology, EKG, and lab utilization, respectively. Within 12 months of opening, the 24-Hour Cancer Clinic also helped to reduce hospital admissions to 18% as compared to a 42% admission rate from the ED.
The Oncology Pharmacy Navigator: A New Best Practice Model for Managing Medications
Legacy Cancer Institute created a new patient navigator role—the oncology pharmacy navigator—to help patients with medication management, a crucial but often overwhelming component of cancer care. Many patients with cancer face challenges in understanding and adhering to their anticancer medication regimen, while also managing medications for comorbidities. Since implementing its new oncology pharmacy navigator program, Legacy Cancer Institute has seen improvement in patients’ medication adherence, accuracy of patients’ medications list, addressing medication-related symptoms quickly, and assisting those struggling to pay for medications. The innovative Oncology Pharmacy Navigator role has distinguished the cancer program, assisted in accreditation efforts, benefited patients, and reduced cost by $235,000 in one year.
Improving Care of Advanced Cancer Patients with a Dedicated Palliative Radiotherapy Team
While many cancer programs offer radiation therapy for palliation, few in this setting offer care from a specialized palliative team. Not only does the radiation oncology department at Mount Sinai employ the shortest evidence-based and guideline-directed treatment courses for metastases without compromising efficacy, but it also implemented a palliative radiotherapy team specifically to care for patients with advanced cancer. This team meets with a multidisciplinary tumor board and participates in goals-of-care conversations with patients, caregivers, palliative care specialists, and primary oncology providers. Since creating this specialized care team, the cancer institute has seen a 5-day reduction in length of stay and a $20,000 savings per hospitalized radiation patient; a 4-fold decrease in unnecessarily lengthy radiation courses; and a 15% increase in the proportion of patients who met with a palliative care provider within a month of completing radiation.
New Orleans, LA
Partnering to Deliver Precision Cancer Therapy in the Community
Through a partnership with the Translational Genomics Institute (TGen), the Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program makes early-phase clinical cancer trials a viable, close-to-home option for patients in nearby communities. To offer precision cancer therapy, the program utilizes molecular diagnostic and clinical strategies, including next generation sequencing of tumor specimens, to deliver personalized treatment to patients and improve quality of care.
A Physician Champion Takes a Practice-Based Immunotherapy Program to the Next Level
The importance of early identification and management of adverse events in patients treated with immunotherapies for cancer is well established. Jefferson Medical Oncology Associates implemented new processes and tools to deliver a proactive, multidisciplinary team approach for patients on cancer immunotherapies via continuous symptom monitoring and effective management of immune-related adverse events. They have transformed their practice and quality of patient care by including banners in their EHR that immediately identify patients on immunotherapy; clinical algorithms for on-call physicians to provide 24/7 real-time access and for nursing staff to triage patients; and immunotherapy orientation for new nurses and ongoing staff education.
Cancer Crushing Prevention and Early Detection
To engage its community in cancer prevention conversations and improve screening compliance rates, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center developed and implemented a multifaceted public awareness campaign on the leading causes of cancer death in men and women, and the importance of cancer screenings and smoking cessation. Partnering with senior leaders from dozens of the region’s largest employers, the cancer center has launched a successful workplace wellness program that promotes evidence-based practices to keep employees healthy by targeting the leading causes of cancer-related death.
Chapel Hill, NC
Combating Rising Drug Prices & Waste Through Drug Vial Optimization
North Carolina Cancer Hospital was the first program in the nation to adopt a closed-system transfer device that has saved $39 million in drug expense annually by reducing waste. This reduction decreases the number of closed-system transfer devices needed as each vial can be used more than once—despite a five-year 43% increase in adjusted chemotherapy volumes. At the upcoming National Oncology Conference, the hospital will discuss cost savings, clinical metrics demonstrated through the risk mitigation strategy, and how the initiative could be modeled as a best practice.
The 2018 Innovator Award recipients will be presenting their forward-thinking initiatives during the upcoming ACCC 35th National Oncology Conference. This “how to” conference will provide a one-of-a-kind educational and networking forum for all members of the cancer care team, including timely sessions on multidisciplinary care for elderly patients, virtual infusion, management of cognitive impairment, survivorship care plans, and leveraging new technologies to improve patient care.
About the Association of Community Cancer Centers
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) is the leading advocacy and education organization for the multidisciplinary cancer care team. ACCC is a powerful network of 24,000 cancer care professionals from 2,100 hospitals and practices nationwide. ACCC is recognized as the premier provider of resources for the entire oncology care team. For more information visit accc-cancer.org or call 301.984.9496. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and read our blog, ACCCBuzz.