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  • Author: Richard Korman x
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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.