Oncology Evaluation Center May Improve Health and Cost Outcomes in Cancer

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Patients with treatment-related complications often report to the ED, which leads to ED over utilization and increased care costs.
Patients with treatment-related complications often report to the ED, which leads to ED over utilization and increased care costs.
The following article features coverage from the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society's Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's conference coverage. 

WASHINGTON, DC — Oncology advanced practice provider (APP)-run clinics may fill a void for patients with cancer receiving ambulatory oncologic management who require urgent evaluation and treatment, according to findings presented at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress. 

“There are a lot of therapies that were traditionally given on the inpatient side of care that are being moved to outpatient settings,” said Suzanne McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AOCN, “which is further limiting the ability to add additional patients on for urgent visits.” Patients often develop treatment-related complications or acute symptoms and report to the emergency department (ED) as a result, which leads to ED overutilization, increased costs to patients and providers, and delays in treatment. 

For this study, the Oncology Evaluation Center (OEC) — a means of providing same-day and urgent appointments for pre-existing patients — was established on November 1, 2016, at the hematology/oncology division in a large academic cancer center at the University of Pennsylvania. The primary objectives of the OEC were to reduce ED visits, increase overall efficiency of clinics and infusion centers, and improve patient satisfaction. 

Since the OEC became operational, more than 500 patients have been evaluated. Approximately 80% of patients were discharged back home, and of the remaining 20% of patients, 13% received further evaluation in the ED, 4% were admitted to the oncology service, and 2% patients were evaluated by another service. 

McGettigan concluded that “cancer centers must consider innovative methods for managing patients in the ambulatory setting. Oncology APPs are uniquely positioned to assist in this process due to their expertise in symptom management. An APP-run same day clinic for oncology patients needing urgent evaluation and treatment is a viable mechanism of accomplishing this goal.”

Reference

McGettigan S, Reeves T, Zinck L, Madison P, Braun J, Owens A. APP run oncology evaluation center for management of complications of cancer and cancer therapies. Oral presentation at: 43rdONS Annual Congress; May 17-20, 2018; Washington, DC.


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