From the November 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
DMBN: What's a specific problem that came up while building the program, and how did you deal with it?
If I have to identify a challenge, it would be funding for services that are crucial to a cancer patient's emotional well-being, but not normally covered by insurance. Although, since the center has been open, our Charitable Foundation has raised millions of dollars for the Integrated Support Services offered through the Cancer Center. These services can range from educational workshops to genetic counseling and nutritional support.
DMBN: How has health IT figured into your cancer program?
Numed, a well established company in business since 1975 provides a wide range of service options including time & material service, PM only contracts, full service contracts, labor only contracts & system relocation. Call 800 96 Numed for more info.
We use EMR to help communicate between PCPs and other members of the multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses and support staff caring for our patients. We also use it to order chemotherapy where there are many checks and balances, which minimizes the chance of any errors. This software also has a record of current patient medications and checks for any incompatibilities when ordering chemotherapy or other drugs.
DMBN: What plans do you have to continue building the program?
The sky's the limit. We will continue to build this cancer program as long as there are patients to treat. For example, we have been adding more physicians to our staff and we are launching a psycho-oncology program to identify and support patients and families who are struggling emotionally with this difficult disease.
DMBN: What advice do you have for other hospitals working on developing a strong cancer program?
To develop a strong cancer program, you must have dedicated clinical leadership who can work effectively with hospital administration. Also, support by other disciplines in the hospital setting such as nursing and ancillary services, play an integral part in developing a successful and comprehensive program.
Other advice? Accreditation is extremely helpful in setting benchmarks. Although it is purely voluntary and requires a large amount of staff resources, it clearly shows a center's commitment to its patients.
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