Advances in medicine and technology have helped the United States make significant progress in the fight against cancer, lowering the death rate by 13 percent between 2004 and 2013. Yet, huge gaps exist in early detection, prevention, and coordinated care for patients with cancer that negatively impact their health status, quality of life, and survivorship.
For example, the chances a patient will survive breast cancer with early treatment are approaching nearly 100 percent. But in parts of Mississippi, patients are still almost five times as likely to die of breast cancer than patients in other areas. Male African Americans face mortality rates from cancer that are 27 percent higher than their white counterparts, and Latinas older than 40 are 10 percent less likely to have had a mammogram than white women.
Closing these gaps was the focus of the third Better Together Health event, “All Systems Go! Closing the Gaps in Cancer Care,” on May 24, 2017, in Washington D.C. The event, sponsored by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the American Cancer Society, made a series of recommendation to improve prevention and care to alleviate the emotional, physical and financial cost of cancer.
Among the insights presented:
- Obesity is catching up to tobacco use as the major lifestyle and preventable risk factor for developing cancer
- All cancer patients should benefit from coordinated care by connected teams of professionals with 24/7 access to the electronic medical record
- Access to affordable health care is critically important to move gaps in care for minorities, as is cultural sensitivity and awareness
- Health care should be organized into systems in which every point serves as a safety net for the patient, where every team members takes responsibility for what the patient needs, including preventive screenings. New and less invasive screening methods for colon cancer, intensive follow-up with patients, and re-engineering the care pathways for cancer patients have improved mortality 17% in just three years at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
Read the white paper, “The State of Cancer Care in America Today,” for more information, and visit accountablecaredoctors.org to find out how America’s leading medical groups are improving care for all patients with improved systems of care, technology, and evidence-based medicine.
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