Background: The availability and popularity of oral anti-cancer therapy has recently increased. In this shift of delivery, control over downstream steps in the process moves to patients, families, and the extended care team. Unique challenges have been identified including effective patient education, adherence, and monitoring. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to standardize the approach to initiating oral anti-cancer patient care. Methods: A quality improvement team developed and implemented a standard approach for before, during, and after initiation of oral anti-cancer therapy. Key components included ensuring completion of informed consent, electronic orders within an evidence-based treatment plan, and adherence monitoring with a specific emphasis on patient education. Education prior to initiating therapy was standardized through both an education folder and one-on-one teaching sessions with an oncology nurse. A voluntary, anonymous 4-question paper survey (deemed clinical quality improvement by the IRB) solicited feedback from patients to assess both the educational materials and teaching session. Questions included perceived acceptability of the content and whether materials guided conversation, provoked questions, and complimented the teaching. An opportunity for comments was provided. Results: A 3-month collection period yielded overwhelmingly positive results. 100% of patients (n=18) felt the education materials provided were “just right” and provoked discussion with the care team. 94% of patients felt the educational materials and teaching session were complimentary. Conclusions: As oral anti-cancer therapy becomes more common, it is vital to form a collaborative partnership with the patient, family, and the extended care team to ensure overall success. Standardized educational content supports the transfer of expert knowledge to ensure adherence, management, and patient safety, ultimately improving patient outcomes. A standard approach that includes informed consent, orders within a treatment plan, adherence monitoring, and patient education prior to initiating oral anti-cancer therapy is one way to ensure quality, comprehensive patient care.
Megan Corbett, Cynthia Arcieri, Emma Dann, Jeff Durney, Frances Fuller, Frances Leonard, Susan O’Connor, Inez Robinson, Jill Sweeney, Kristie Weeks, Jamie White and Jane Worrell
Howland E. Crosswell, Kaitlin N. Bomar, Nicole Vickery, Kristina Stoeppler-Biege, Terra D. Spann and Robert D. Siegel
Lori J. Goldstein, Bonnie J. Miller, Nancy Nicotera and Delinda Pendleton
Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) participated in the NCCN Opportunities for Improvement project with the purpose of optimizing the quality of care delivered at FCCC to patients with breast cancer based on the ASCO and NCCN Guidelines. Historically, FCCC’s performance has demonstrated a high level of concordance, based on findings from the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database project benchmarking data in breast cancer. Access to the NCCN Breast Cancer Timing in Continuation and Transition of Care (TiCToC) Measures data analysis (performed by NCCN) provided an opportunity to further identify specific opportunities related to care along the continuum. The initial goal of the project was to continue participation in the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database for Breast Cancer, with the overall objective of sustaining high concordance. FCCC’s recent data were compared with historical data and benchmarked against those from other participating NCCN Member Institutions.
Brook Blackmore, Nicole Centers and Troy Gifford
Background: Sarah Cannon has established a standardized nurse navigation program for breast, lung, and Gi cancer patients. Navigators play a significant role in addressing barriers that may adversely impact patient outcomes. Historically, nurse navigators were spending up to 65% of their time data mining to identify new patients for navigation. This lost time compromises a navigator’s ability to effectively support patients. Sarah Cannon implemented a technology solution to address this manual process. Methods: A patient identification software application (patient ID), utilizing natural language processing technology, was developed to identify positive pathology reports across the enterprise in real time. Patient ID instantly routes those reports to a tumor site-specific oncology nurse navigator. The impact of this technology was assessed in 3 Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) markets from December 2016–March 2017. Total patient recall, total volume of reports reviewed, navigated patient volumes, navigator time allocation, and time from diagnosis to first treatment were studied. Results: Patient ID reviewed 47,544 pathology reports during the 4-month pilot, identifying 7,224 potential cancer reports. 2,782 of those represented breast, lung, or Gi cancer patients and were routed to a nurse navigator. Patient ID performed with an overall total patient recall of 98%, respectively. Decreased time spent data mining was observed, and navigator caseload increased by 71%. Time from diagnosis to first treatment decreased by an average of 6 days. Time allocated to direct patient contact and physician interaction increased by 35%. Conclusions: Implementation of a technology solution to rapidly identify new cancer patients for navigation in a community health system is feasible and associated with multiple benefits. Increased navigator patient volumes and navigator productivity were observed. Navigator time spent with patients and physicians increased with a concurrent reduction in data mining time. Timeliness of care metrics improved, suggesting a favorable impact on quality. This technology is now being deployed across the HCA enterprise.
Brittany Bauman, Rosemarie Mick, Eileen Martinez, Theresa M. Lawless, Lindsey Zinck, Paige Sinclair, Mary Fuhrer, Mark O’Hara, Charles J. Schneider, Peter O’Dwyer, John Plastaras, Ursina Teitelbaum and Kim A. Reiss
Background: Chemotherapy-induced oral thermal hyperalgesia (OTH) is a common and debilitating side effect of platinum-based anticancer agents. This study evaluated the efficacy of oral cryotherapy in preventing OTH during oxaliplatin chemotherapy infusion. Methods: Patients with gastrointestinal cancer treated with biweekly oxaliplatin (85 mg/m2 over 120 minutes) at Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania were randomized to receive oral cryotherapy (ice chips) during oxaliplatin infusion or standard-of-care treatment. All patients completed baseline questionnaires regarding oral and peripheral symptoms and on-treatment questionnaires on day 1 of each subsequent chemotherapy cycle. Those in the treatment arm were asked to document how long they kept the ice chips in their mouths (0, <30, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes) and to report their discomfort associated with oral cryotherapy. Evaluable patients were those who had completed at least 2 cycles of oxaliplatin therapy. Results: Of 62 randomized patients with a variety of gastrointestinal malignancies, 50 (25 per treatment arm) were evaluable for efficacy. The rate of patients with oral symptoms after the first treatment cycle was significantly lower in the intervention arm (n=8; 32%) than in the control arm (n=18; 72%), meeting the primary study objective (P=.01). The magnitude of difference in symptom scores before versus after the first treatment cycle was significantly less in the intervention versus control arm (P=.001). No difference in oral symptoms over time was seen between the intervention and control groups (P=.20), although a high attrition rate was noted. Duration of ice chip exposure was associated with improved oral symptoms over time (P=.02). Conclusions: Oral cryotherapy is a tolerable and cost-effective method of diminishing OTH in patients receiving oxaliplatin chemotherapy, and seems to be most effective in the early stages of treatment.
Sowmya Boddhula, Satish Kumar Boddhula, Bishesh Shrestha, Kelly Morris and Rosana Gnanajothy
Introduction: Individuals with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) or previous infection with HBV are at increased risk of HBV exacerbation or reactivation when they receive treatment with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies like rituximab (RTX). HBV screening and appropriate use of prophylactic antiviral therapy is recommended to prevent reactivation. A software program named Beacon Oncology was integrated into Epic, which creates an automated alert for HBV screening before starting first dose of chemotherapy with RTX and results the previously resulted HBV test results. Retrospective data analysis for screening was done after implementation of the software and its impact was assessed. Methods: We conducted retrospective chart review on screening for HBV before starting treatment with RTX before and after implementation of the electronic health record (EHR) alert system. Results: A baseline review (before software introduction) of 165 patients showed that only 40 (24%) had screening tests for HBV (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] and hepatitis B core antibody [anti-HBcAb]) before receiving rituximab. Following introduction of the automated electronic alert system, chart review for HBV testing rates among patients being initiated onto rituximab was performed. There was a marked increase in pre-rituximab testing for HBsAg from 24% to 88% and for anti-HBcAb from 24% to 76%. The remainder cases also had the HBV screening done but after the first dose of the RTX chemotherapy between 1.3 to 7.5 days. There was one patient identified as anti-HBcAb-positive after the implementation of the protocol. Conclusions: This retrospective single-institution study clearly indicates that simple strategies can markedly improve appropriate HBV screening. There was a more than 3-fold increase in HBV testing before the first dose of HBV after implementation of the EHR alert system. There has been increased use of EHR alert systems recently to improve implementation of clinical guidelines, and they have been shown to improve patient outcomes. In conclusion, an automated EHR alert directed toward screening for HBV before initiating RTX effectively increased the number of HBV screening tests completed, and similar protocols could be implemented to identify other at-risk patient groups.
Dayna Crawford, Brook Blackmore, Jeremy Ortega and Erica Williams
Background: Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in men and women combined, with an occurrence rate of 4.49% for men and 4.15% for women. The 2018 expectation is 50,630 deaths related to colon cancer in the United States (American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2018). Early detection is increasing with nearly 45% of colon cancers diagnosed as stage I/II (Sarah Cannon Cancer Registry 2015). Treatment for early stage I/II colon cancer patients usually involves surgery then surveillance. On-site navigators perform their duties by patient need and barriers to care. Late stage III/IV colon cancer patients require more assistance and face more barriers, which often leaves early stage I/II patients without an advocate. This disparity can lead to lower rates of follow-up care for early stage I/II patients. Sarah Cannon created a program for virtual colon navigation (VCN) to determine if early stage I/II patients benefit from a virtual navigator who offers support by phone throughout their disease process. Objectives: The goal was to increase early stage I/II patients’ knowledge of their cancer and convey the importance of compliance with follow-up care, such as repeat colonoscopy as recommended by their physician and NCCN Guidelines. Methods: By developing software that utilizes artificial intelligence, Sarah Cannon created an automated process to identify colon cancer patients at the time of diagnosis. This technology then routes positive pathology reports to a VCN who contacts the early stage I/II patients by telephone, ensuring patient connection to the suitable physician for treatment. The VCN helps patients understand their diagnosis, provides education, assesses barriers to care, connects to resources, provides emotional support, and offers assistance with follow-up for physician visits, imaging and procedures such as colonoscopies, based upon NCCN Guidelines and physician guidelines. The VCN also connects stage III/IV patients with an on-site navigator in their region for more hands-on navigation. Results: Through September 2018, Sarah Cannon navigated 734 colon cancers, 332 stage I/II and 402 stage III/IV. With our increased capacity, Sarah Cannon/HCA maintained a 98% rate of follow-up care with new diagnoses of all stages of colon cancer. Conclusions: The VCN program allowed Sarah Cannon/HCA to improve care continuity and compliance based upon NCCN Guidelines for early stage I/II colon cancer patients throughout 5 regions and 37 facilities.
Margaret A. O'Grady, Elena Gitelson, Ramona F. Swaby, Lori J. Goldstein, Elaine Sein, Patricia Keeley, Bonnie Miller, Tianyu Li, Alan Weinstein and Steven J. Cohen
Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners (FCCCP) is a community hospital/academic partnership consisting of 25 hospitals in the Delaware Valley. Originally created in 1986, FCCCP promotes quality community cancer care through education, quality assurance, and access to clinical trial research. An important aspect of quality assurance is a yearly medical oncology audit that benchmarks quality indicators and guidelines and provides a roadmap for quality improvement initiatives in the community oncology clinical office setting. Each year, the FCCCP team and the Partner Medical Oncologists build disease site- and stage-specific indicators based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. Concordance with multiple indicators is assessed on 20 charts from each community practice. A report for each FCCCP medical oncology practice summarizes documentation, screening recommendations, new drug use, and research trends in a particular disease site. Descriptive statistics reflect indicators met, number of new cases seen per year, number of disease site cases from tumor registry information, and clinical trial accrual total. Education and documentation tools are provided to physicians and oncology office nursing staff. The FCCCP Clinical Operations Team, consisting of medical oncologists and oncology-certified nurses, has conducted quality audits in medical oncology offices for 7 years using NCCN-derived indicators. Successful audits comprising gastric, colorectal, and breast cancer have been the focus of recent evaluations. For the 2005 stage II/III breast cancer evaluation, mean compliance per parameter was 88%, with 15 of 16 practices achieving mean compliance greater than 80%. A large-scale quality assurance audit in a community cancer partner network is feasible. Recent evaluation of localized breast cancer shows high compliance with guidelines and identifies areas for focused education. Partnership between academic and community oncologists produces a quality review process that is broadly applicable and adaptable to changing medical knowledge.
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.
Priya Wanchoo, Chris Larrison, Carol Rosenberg, Naomi Ko, Cynthia Cantril, Naomi Moeller, Ruchit Parikh and Ana-Marija Djordjevic
Background: Rapid advancements in the field of metastatic breast cancer (mBC) add to the complexity of managing patients with this disease. An educational needs assessment of multidisciplinary mBC clinicians was executed to identify practice performance gaps and recommend educational strategies aimed at closing these gaps. Methods: To ensure a collection of reliable data for assessment, a systematic process was used to design, develop, and validate the tools that were used. This grounded theory approach included assessment and confirmation by clinical experts and validation testing within the target audiences. A mixed-methods approach was used to identify practice performance gaps in care, using both qualitative in-depth interviews and quantitative surveying. The quantitative survey assessment consisted of 2 main sections: the Clinician Change Readiness Inventory tool and a Clinical Knowledge and Practice Assessment. Results: The study included 42 clinicians in the interview phase and 186 clinicians in the survey phase from 36 different states. Five key practice performance gaps were identified: (1) selecting optimal treatment, (2) personalizing therapy, (3) monitoring mBC, (4) engaging in effective communication, and (5) balancing patient access and time. Most of the gaps overlap and are related to the integral role communication plays in management decision-making in mBC. Conclusions: Awareness of the key practice performance gaps is critical to inform improvements in quality care.