This session during the recent ACCC National Oncology Conference featured a look at new care models and practice transformations that have been prompted by value-based care and posed several questions for the audience to start the session. About half reported their program has recently been through a redesign and of those, most reported that it has been positive. Of the challenges that group reported – IT issues topped the list and the best outcome was improved patient satisfaction.
Next, Amber Campbell, MBA, Oncology Service Line Clinical Outreach Coordinator and Relationship Manager of Sutter Health Valley Hospitals described how her program approached their transformation efforts from the patient perspective – what is most important, most useful, and most troubling for the patients themselves. Her multi-disciplinary team spoke directly to patients about which needs were being met and which weren’t. She emphasized that these insights can’t be gained from quality scores or patient satisfaction surveys – you could end up making all sorts of changes and still missing the mark.
By speaking to patients they were able to gain a better understanding of how patients feel. The result of their work was a “value stream map” that helped Sutter outline all of the activities that would improve patient experiences while also identifying gaps and waste. The outcomes of the project included:
- A training symposium for primary care physicians to help them understand their role at the time of a cancer diagnosis including how to improve communication and show empathy
- Increased navigation services – when these were provided patients felt their needs were better met
- Started an interoperability pilot to improve the communication between physicians to prevent unneeded services like duplicated labs
- Started an “AA for cancer” – a support group for survivors to improve post-treatment life for patients
Amber reiterated the importance of speaking to patients and avoiding making any assumptions. Value stream maps help you understand how a patient feels and what the experience is really like – without that it’s difficult to make meaningful changes. And it’s not a one time project – she is already looking ahead to ways to reach a more diverse patient populations and speak to groups with unique needs and perspectives. Learn more about Sutter Health Innovation.