This is the final part in a three-part series about the Council of Accountable Physician Practices’ (CAPP) white paper, “The State of Cancer Care in America.” You can find the previous two installments here and here.
Many healthcare experts agree that care coordination is the key to reducing disparities in cancer care, but obstacles to coordination can arise almost immediately after abnormal diagnosis. A new white paper entitled “The State of Cancer Care in America” from the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), presented at the third 2017 Better Together Health event, explained how medical errors, redundant procedures, and poor communication arise from a lack of coordination in a patient’s care.
Commonwealth Fund research found that out of eleven wealthy countries, the United States ranked last in levels of care coordination. Despite the fact that many more patients and physicians are now familiar with the concept of coordinated care and its value, according to the Commonwealth Fund almost 40% of patients in America said they experienced at least one gap in their medical care, while nearly 10% reported three gaps or more.
In light of this information, CAPP and the ACS made several recommendations to improve the care experience and health outcomes of cancer patients:
- Care coordination that begins immediately after an abnormal screening should be available to all cancer patients as well as their care providers, and should continue throughout the treatment process and into follow-up remission care.
- Navigating the care process should be tailored based on the needs of the patient. Factors including health literacy and patient activation should be used to make care plans convenient for patients and their families. Scheduling multiple appointments on the same day and rapidly following up on test results and treatments makes receiving care easier for patients and raises their engagement with the care process.
- Integrating cancer care teams and labs with technology like interactive electronic medical records enhances care coordination by enabling faster clinical decisions and the ability of teams to have current information at all times and to communicate in real time.
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