A new cancer diagnosis is a cause for anxiety and uncertainty for many patients, and will often require arranging visits to different clinics and specialists to get the right care at the right time. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) has witnessed a 70 percent increase in new patients fighting kidney cancer between 2011 and 2016, so they are taking steps to make getting care faster and easier for these patients.
SCCA opened its new Kidney Cancer Multispecialty Clinic in April, marking one of the first of its kind in the country. The new approach is rooted in streamlining care for patients with metastatic kidney cancer, and it is modeled after multispecialty clinics for other specific cancer types, such as breast and lung cancer.
In the model, patients referred to the clinic are evaluated by a medical oncologist, urologist and radiation oncologist, all in a single afternoon. The initial appointments last about four hours. After meeting the patient, the three specialists meet separately with a radiologist and a pathologist. As a result, patients get input from five different disciplines at once. The main goal is to accelerate a patient’s access to treatment by consolidating multiple specialists with expertise in kidney cancer into a single facility. In the traditional organizational structure, it can take patients several weeks to obtain opinions from multiple specialists.
Nurse navigators track patients’ progress after their initial visit and help with scheduling appointments and follow-up care, serving as a point of reference for the patient. The new Kidney Cancer Multispecialty Clinic also aims to make clinical trial participation opportunities available to patients.
Improving the efficiency of patient access to specialty care is expected to have a positive effect on the patient experience, and allowing patients to get opinions from multiple providers at once can reduce much of the stress of coordinating care at a difficult time. Read more about SCCA’s Kidney Cancer Multispecialty Clinic in Healio. (Tim Pfarr)