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Methodist Cancer Center

Methodist Healthcare System, Methodist Cancer Center

San Antonio, Texas

Emergent Care for Oncology Patients via the VIP (Very Immunocompromised Patient) Program

Febrile neutropenia (FN) is an oncologic emergency and one of the most common indications for hospitalization of patients with cancer. The evaluation and treatment of FN patients in the emergency department (ED) often varies, and such variation may create delays in treatment. To address this issue, Methodist Cancer Center developed a best practice process for rapid assessment and management of oncology patients with a low white blood cell count presenting to the emergency department.

A multidisciplinary team at Methodist Cancer Center created the VIP Program, which includes a pathway for evaluation and treatment of oncology patients in the emergency department. A VIP Kit educates patients on when to report to the ED and improves coordination of care with community-based physicians. Data from June to August 2012 show that implementation of the VIP protocol has resulted in improvement in median time from presentation in the ED to delivery of antibiotic from 162 minutes for patients who did not receive the protocol to 108 minutes for those who did. More recent data show continued improvement.

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Listen to a full recording of Methodist's presentation at the ACCC 30th National Oncology Conference. (Available to ACCC members only.)