Purpose: Oncology practices may serve as the primary health provider for patients with cancer and the so-called neighbor during periods of transition and survivorship. New standards for patient-centered oncology practice articulate expectations for the primary health provider and neighbor roles. We report the implementation experiences of five oncology practices participating in a pilot of these standards.
Methods: For each practice, auditors reviewed workflows and documentation supporting the progress of the practice in meeting the oncology medical home standards. We also observed clinical encounters and practice workflow and interviewed clinicians, staff, and patients.
Results: Referral coordination and care management were the most demonstrated functions. The least commonly demonstrated functions related to tracking and coordination of tests and medications, as well as quality measurement and improvement. Some opportunities for structural and process improvement included improving the use of health information technology, care coordination, quality improvement, telephone triage, symptom management, patient education, financial counseling, and care team communication. Making patient-centered care a priority and motivation to change were cited as facilitators for transformation.
Conclusion: The pilot oncology practices had many structures and processes in common, many of which were established during the early intervention period of this pilot. However, there was little standardization within and across practices in the way these processes were established and documented. Establishing structures for care coordination, quality improvement, and quality measurement should be priorities for practices considering transformation to a patient-centered model of care.
Copyright © 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.