Background: The proliferation of relationships between community health systems and academic medical centers has created a need to identify effective components of these models. This article reports on frontline physician experiences, with one such relationship established through the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) Cancer Alliance. MSK created the Alliance with the goals of rapidly bringing the newest standards of care into community settings and increasing patient access to clinical trials in their local communities. Methods: Alliance leadership administered a 10-question anonymous survey to physicians treating patients with cancer across the 3 Alliance member health systems: Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida. The purpose of the survey was to identify opportunities to improve physician engagement. Results: There were 103 clinician respondents across Alliance members, of which 87 reported participation in a disease management team and were included in the final analysis. Most respondents reported high value from Alliance activities, such as attending MSK tumor boards (94%) and lecture series (96%), among those who reported them applicable. Across all respondents, most reported satisfaction with engagement opportunities, such as MSK physician participation in their institution’s meetings (76%). When asked where they would like to see increased engagement, the most commonly reported response was for more lecture series (45%). Most respondents (88%) reported that the Alliance led to practice change, either for themselves or for other clinicians at their institution. Many attributed this practice change to MSK disease-specific process measures. Conclusions: The activities most valued by community physicians were heavily physician relationship–based. The encouraging experience of the MSK Cancer Alliance suggests that activities involving physician investment may be effective for promoting practice change in the context of cross-institution relationships. Future research is needed in this area.
Allison Lipitz-Snyderman, Jessica Kennington, Brooke Hogan, Deborah Korenstein, Leonard Kalman, Suresh Nair, Peter Yu, Paul Sabbatini and David Pfister
Craig Sauter, W. Jeffrey Baker, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Silvia Willumsen, Barbara Morcerf, Kristi Gafford, Jessica Kennington, Richard Korman, Peter Yu, David Pfister and Sergio Giralt
Background: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) created the MSK Cancer Alliance in 2014, a dynamic and bidirectional collaboration with high-quality community providers to enhance access to state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute (HHC), joined the MSK Cancer Alliance as the first member in 2014. Research suggests that bone marrow transplant (BMT) is an underutilized definitive therapy (Yao et al, Biol Blood Bone Marrow Transplant 2013) for patients with hematologic malignancies and the timing of a referral for transplant has significant impact on patient outcomes (National Marrow Donor Program, available at: https://bethematchclinical.org/transplant-indications-and-outcomes/additional-outcomes/timing-impact-on-outcomes/). MSK and HHC developed the BMT Shared Care program to improve access to transplant, ensure BMT specialist consults for appropriate candidates occur during initial treatment planning, reduce burdensome travel for patients by facilitating care locally, and enhance seamless coordination between local oncologists and BMT providers from initial consult through post-transplant care. Methods: To achieve these goals, MSK and HHC physicians, nurses, and staff created a program that includes: HHC hiring a BMT nurse, who trained for 4 weeks at MSK, and works with MSK counterparts to create a streamlined referral process, pretransplant care at HHC, and travel logistics to MSK; MSK and HHC physicians hold virtual tumor boards to jointly evaluate patients and provide BMT consults at the optimal time; onsite lectures and observer-ships focused on advances in BMT, supportive care, and management of complications like graft versus host disease, leading to the integration of additional clinical services like infectious disease and dermatology; and research, including an MSK clinical trial open at HHC to identify and understand barriers to transplant in the community for patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed acute leukemia. Results: Since November 2015, HHC has referred 86 patients for BMT consult through this Shared Care program, with 35 patients transplanted or receiving immune effector cells (IEC) to date. Conclusions: The BMT Shared Care program effectively facilitates the referral and transplant of appropriate patients while allowing them to receive much of their pre- and post-transplant care in their local communities. Collaboration between BMT nurse coordinators and robust physician engagement are essential to this program. Future opportunities include expanding the use of telemedicine, enhancing electronic data sharing, quantifying and analyzing patient satisfaction, and expanding BMT research at HHC.