Supportive Cancer Care Models and Equity – Reaching the Underserved through Telehealth

A NEW ALLIANCE TO ADVANCE PATIENT-CENTERED CANCER CARE WEBINAR

The world has changed significantly over the past year, but the needs of vulnerable and underserved patients remain as urgent as ever. Supportive care interventions aim to prevent and treat physical, psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to cancer. Alliance program partners are improving the quality of life of vulnerable and underserved persons with cancer through supportive care programs that aim to address their psychosocial concerns and reduce barriers to care. As many clinical centers around the country have had to increase their reliance on telehealth to deliver safe cancer care, the Alliance sites, too, have been working to adapt to the new world order.

Continue reading

Improving Access to Cancer Clinical Trial Programs in Massachusetts

In the era of precision medicine and molecular oncology, persons with cancer are gaining access to increasingly advanced forms of treatment. However, while some may be able to benefit from this cutting-edge clinical innovation, many underserved patients are still struggling to receive care. A new law in Massachusetts is set to eliminate a major financial barrier to accessing clinical trials. Lawmakers, health care practitioners, and other stakeholders behind the measure hope that the provision contained in the health care bill “promoting a resilient health care system that puts patients first” will increase access to care for all, regardless of their sex, age, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

Continue reading

Evaluating the Sustainability of Oncology Navigation with the AONN+ Navigation Metrics Toolkit

A new Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Webinar

Patient navigators have been assisting persons with cancer for approximately twenty years. However, there is little consensus on how the role should be defined, or how to best evaluate a navigator’s impact on patient care. Demonstrating the value of navigation is an essential step in determining the sustainability of these programs, making the business case for a patient-centered approach to cancer care.

Continue reading

The University of Arizona Presents a Successful Training Model to Reduce Implicit Bias in Medical Students

Controlling the expression of implicit bias in a clinical setting is a very complex balancing act. Physicians need to rely on categorizations based on age, gender, race, and ethnicity when formulating a diagnosis. Once these biases are activated, physicians need to then “individuate” the patient, developing personalized treatment recommendations and engaging in patient-centered dialogue. It is essential to design highly customized education programs and to begin training as early as possible.

Implicit bias is a manifestation of prejudice deriving from thoughts and feelings generated outside of an individual’s conscious awareness. These automatic judgments can be especially dangerous in a clinical setting, where they may be contributing to the health care disparities often experienced by vulnerable and underserved patient populations. A new publication from the University of Arizona presents a promising approach to reducing implicit bias in medical trainees. Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Investigator Dr. Jeff Stone and his colleagues developed and tested an intervention aimed at reducing the stereotyping of Hispanic patients as medically non-compliant. The term refers to a patient’s unwillingness to follow treatment recommendations or take medications as prescribed. Studies show that physician implicit bias may influence treatment recommendations: one study found that African American patients were significantly less likely to receive a recommendation for thrombolytic drugs to treat myocardial infarctions compared to their white counterparts.

Continue reading

Deactivating Implicit Bias, Eliminating Treatment Disparities in Oncology: The Road Ahead

A new Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Webinar

Our society can place white culture, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions above others. A series of tragic events have brought this critical issue back into the public consciousness. Health care professionals, like many others, are striving to bring about lasting change. Naturally focused on helping others, clinical care teams all over the country have been explicitly working on becoming better allies to their vulnerable and underserved patients. Despite their best efforts, many are still manifesting what the experts refer to as implicit bias, or prejudicial and racist thoughts embedded into an individual’s mind on a subconscious, perhaps hidden level. These automatic judgments can significantly affect the way minority patients experience the health care system, from spending less time with physicians than their white counterparts to feeling less involved in decision-making regarding treatment.

Continue reading

Patient Navigation and Health Care Delivery for Underserved Breast Cancer Patients: a New Approach from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

The article published on the JCO Oncology Practice offers a novel approach to incorporating patient navigation services into larger health systems. Dr. Melissa Simon of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and her team describe their process of utilizing data derived from their breast cancer patient navigation program to systematically improve care delivery for the vulnerable populations they aim to serve.

Continue reading

Cancer Care and Health Equity in the COVID-19 Era

A new Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many health care systems to alter the way they provide services to their communities, embracing substantial changes to their clinical practice. With institutions considering making some of these changes permanent, it is essential to reflect on the implications for vulnerable and underserved patient
populations. How will they fare navigating a new system of care increasingly centered on technology and remote services?

Continue reading

New Paper from the University of Arizona Examines Financial Toxicity, Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors

A new study from Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care program partner, the University of Arizona, dives into financial vulnerability for cancer patients with health insurance, aiming to better understand how health behaviors and psychosocial concerns may be associated with financial burden. Elizabeth Ver Hoeve, MA, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, is the lead author of the paper, “Patient-Reported Financial Toxicity, Quality of life, and Health Behaviors in Insured US Cancer Survivors,” which was recently published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

Continue reading

Improving Patient-Provider Communication in the Era of COVID-19

Dr. Debra Roter, Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been working with her team to adapt the intervention so that it can be delivered remotely. All changes will make it much more convenient for patients to participate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many dramatic changes to our everyday life. As millions of Americans have opted to stay at home as much as possible, clinical practices have been expanding telemedicine efforts to reduce the risk of transmission, interacting with patients remotely via technology such as cell phones and other communication applications. While telemedicine has been available for many years, the use of these services has dramatically increased this year. The Cleveland Clinic recently reported logging more than 60,000 telemedicine visits in March. Before the global pandemic, it averaged about 3,400 virtual visits per month.

Continue reading