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This is the second of seven posts highlighting the achievements of this year’s ACCC Innovator Award Winners. Join us at the upcoming ACCC 36th National Oncology Conference, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Florida, where the 2019 Innovator Award recipients will present on their pioneering initiatives.
In December 2018, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Health Austin) began a bold new experiment. With a $50 million grant from the LIVESTRONG Foundation, UT Health Austin launched the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, an outpatient cancer clinic that replaces the traditional cancer care approach with a model that treats cancer as a chronic condition that affects the whole person rather than just the disease site.
Elizabeth Kvale, MD, MPH, the program leader of Survivorship, Support, and Palliative Care at LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, says the program is anchored in interdisciplinary supportive care, making available the supportive services that may not be accessible in the traditional cancer care delivery model.
“Most people are now being treated in disease-specific cancer practices or general oncology practices, and then they are referred to palliative care when they do not have further treatment options,” says Dr. Kvale. “This means they miss the benefits of palliative and supportive care when they need it most. We are making supportive, whole-person care the hub—and subspecialty cancer clinics the spokes—of our care delivery model.”
Dr. Kvale calls this treatment approach “a radical redesign of traditional cancer care delivery.” As practiced at LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, palliative and supportive care are interdisciplinary and tailored to the needs of each patient. “We believe that since people can live with cancer for many years, we need a chronic care model,” says Dr. Kvale. “This allows them to live the very best life they can with any limitations they may have.” Watch this video for more on the CaLM team.
This approach puts patients—rather than physicians—at the center of care delivery. When patients visit the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes, they are met by members of the Cancer Life reiMagined (CaLM) team. Team members include an oncology advanced practice practitioner (APP), a palliative and supportive care APP, an LCSW, a social worker/access coordinator/navigator, an oncology RN, and a medical assistant. The broader patient support team incorporates an oncology psychiatrist, dietitian, genetic counselor, palliative and supportive care physician, fertility nurse practitioner, financial manager, and pharmacist.
LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes' treatment model also incorporates best practices related to the multidisciplinary approach to clinical cancer treatment. Medical oncology subspecialists collaborate with surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists to deliver guideline-concordant treatment plans and access to clinical trials.
CaLM team members work cooperatively to meet the spectrum of each patient’s needs by contributing to and updating a patient’s care plan, from their dietary needs to their surgical options to transportation resources. “Placing supportive services at the entry to care allows the CaLM team to deliver these non-revenue generating elements of care at an economy of scale that is not feasible in a traditional model,” explains Dr. Kvale.
Dr. Kvale believes that the whole-person care model LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes has adopted is the inevitable wave of the future. Rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all cancer care model, customizing care to each person can address quality issues that are rewarded in emerging value-based reimbursement systems. “As the market moves more toward value-based care,” says Kvale, “How can you afford not to take this approach?”
Join us at the National Oncology Conference in Orlando this fall where LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes will share details about how its unique cancer care model can help your organization achieve better quality patient care. Register today.
Read the first post in this blog series highlighting ACCC’s 2019 Innovation Award Winners, featuring the radiation oncology mobile patient app created by WellSpan Health in York, Pennsylvania.