ACCC's "Melanoma: Strategies & Tools to Improve the Patient Experience" education project seeks to improve the quality of care for patients with melanoma and their families. The project aims to identify current methods of treatment and barriers to treating patients with melanoma in the community setting; develop effective strategies for improving the patient experience by identifying programs that are currently offering replicable effective practices in the treatment of melanoma; and provide tools so that providers can work across disciplines and departments to improve the patient experience.
Needs Assessment Survey
As a first step in this initiative, ACCC conducted a needs assessment survey of its membership. The survey was conducted from April 17, 2013, through May 6, 2013, and received 255 responses.
Among the areas assessed were:
- Confidence levels for identifying and treating patients with melanoma
- Melanoma topics of interest for education and information
- Tools and practice-based resources currently in use and those that are needed and likely to be used
- Barriers to learning and change
- Challenges in treating and supporting melanoma patients and their families
- The presence of multidisciplinary team-based care for melanoma patients
- The existence of a library for patients with melanoma and their families
- Use of treatment guidelines and which guidelines are used
- Clinical trial involvement
- Identification of "effective practices" and what criteria constitute a strong program
- Areas in need of strengthening in the care of patients with melanoma.
Survey respondents reported "most confidence" in recognizing melanoma risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatment options and survival rates, providing supportive care and continuity of care between care settings, and managing side effects of therapy. Respondents reported feeling "less confident" in classification and staging, treating aggressively relapsing melanoma, discussing clinical trials with patients, and identifying and using "effective practices."
Survey respondents reported that the greatest challenges/barriers in caring for patients with melanoma were:
- Patients' structural, financial and/or personal barriers such as transportation and insurance (46%)
- Challenges of transition of care between numerous settings (44%)
- Keeping current on the latest treatment modalities (36%)
- Translating clinical trial information in practice (27%).
Effective practices and replicable approaches to improving the melanoma patient experience are shared in a publication, Melanoma: Improving the Patient Experience, Practical Strategies for Community Cancer Centers, available online and mailed with the November/December 2013 Oncology Issues.
ACCC will conduct a brief assessment of this publication, consisting of a short survey three months after receiving the publication and a follow-up survey at six months, and is seeking members to participate in this assessment. If you are interested, please contact Brissan Guardado at firstname.lastname@example.org.