The Oncology Care Model (OCM) aims to improve treatment quality and reduce cost by avoiding unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. In hopes of becoming an OCM participant, Oncology Hematology Care (OHC) Incorporated launched a multidimensional campaign to reduce the number of avoidable ED visits and hospitalizations. Their efforts ultimately resulted in a reduction of nearly $798,000 in inpatient costs per quarter over 1600 patients and a reduction of acute care admission rate by 16%.

OHC had previously taken action to establish a phone triage unit, after-hours and weekend call availability, and instituted weekend urgent care. In these current efforts, presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium, the organization expanded its triage pathway to include 38 symptoms and 27 follow-up pathways. They also started to proactively provide follow-up calls to check on patient symptoms and avoid emergency admissions. In addition, a “Call Us Early — Call Us First” campaign was implemented, where patients are encouraged to call before going to the ED.

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Other efforts included increased staffing to provide time for same day visits without scheduling disruptions. Patient education materials provided by nurse navigators prior to the start of treatment was also increased. “By implementing a cost efficient, reproducible, and scalable campaign targeting [ED] avoidance and hospitalizations, we were able to decrease hospital admissions,” the authors reported on their Year-One campaign results.

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Mendenhall M, Dyehouse KM, Guinigundo AS, Meyer-Smith T, Bourbeau B, Waterhouse DM.Practice transformation: early impact of OCM on hospital admissions. Oral presentation at: 2018 ASCO Quality care Symposium; September 28-29, 2018; Phoenix, AZ. Abstract 30.