Intervention Area: Chicagoland Area
CHICAGO – As cancer treatments evolve and grow in complexity, it can be very difficult for cancer patients to receive continuous, high-quality care: while the majority of cancer treatment journeys begin with primary care physicians, patients typically move between a wide variety of facilities and specialties throughout the course of their care. They may receive surgery at one hospital, get transferred to a different facility for chemotherapy, and then go back to primary care physicians for information on survivorship care. With each transfer, there is a potential for miscommunication, resulting in care delays and frustration for patients and their families. This fragmentation is especially dangerous for minority and underserved populations, who are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages (cancers are likely to be more aggressive), have financial challenges, lower levels of social support, poor nutrition, and low physical activity levels.
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine developed the 4R model to provide patients with a clear project plan of their treatment, regardless of how many facilities may be involved in their care or their stage of treatment. 4R care plans include information on cancer care, managing their care alongside other chronic illnesses independent of their cancer diagnosis (comorbidities), preventive care, supportive services, and lifestyle choices. The goal of this intervention is to optimize the coordination, flow, consistency, quality and satisfaction of care and communication among the care team, patients, and caregivers (family members, etc.). With the care plan serving as an “anchor”, patients will be more likely to make use of support services necessary and appropriate for optimal health, regardless of location of care, patient income, race/ethnicity, or other factors.