Learn how this dedicated 24-hour outpatient clinic improved symptom management, minimized treatment plan interruptions, and reduced emergency department (ED) visits—while offering peace of mind to cancer patients. Averaging 130-140 patient visits each month, this clinic demonstrated a 10.7% decrease in ED utilization; a 56%, 32%, and 11% decrease in radiology, EKG, and lab utilization respectively. The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin 24-Hour Cancer Clinic also demonstrated an 18% hospital admission rate as compared to a 42% admission rate from the ED—all within the first 12 months of opening.
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center is a busy treatment center at Froedtert Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in metropolitan Milwaukee. As part of an academic medical center and the five-location Froedtert & MCW Cancer Network, we’re well-resourced to meet the complex needs of our cancer patients.
However, we faced an issue common to many cancer programs. The needs of our patients extended beyond our clinic hours. When patients had symptoms needing prompt medical care after hours, they sought emergency care for treatment-related conditions, resulting in emergency department overutilization, unnecessary tests, and hospital admissions.
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Patients undergoing active cancer treatment—namely, radiation therapy and chemotherapy—can experience a variety of symptoms, including uncontrolled pain, neutropenic fever, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. These symptoms can occur any time of the day or night, and they may require immediate or urgent clinical assessment and treatment. Same-day appointments may be available to oncology patients under active treatment, but they are often limited. Patients who experience symptoms outside of business hours, or when same-day appointments are unavailable, are often directed to seek care in the emergency department (ED) or wait until the next business day.
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