WASHINGTON — Progress has been made to expand the cancer care team for the benefit of the patient care, but there are still questions to be addressed, the outgoing president of American Association for Community Cancer Centers said during the ACCC Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit.
“As I look back on the past year and also what came out of the institute, there’s no doubt that cancer care continues to become more complex. Patients and their primary care physicians need help navigating that care, and the players that we need to bring together to create the care team continue to grow in numbers and diversity,” said Mark Soberman, MD, MBA, FACS.
Because of immuno-oncology, next-generation sequencing and genetic counseling, there are expanded needs and the need for new players on the cancer care team, Soberman said.
The thought process must extend beyond the cancer care team and consider the other medical specialists must be involved, he said.
“Think about the gastroenterologists for colitis; the pulmonologists for pneumonitis; and now the cardiologist,” said Soberman, whose term as ACCC president ends March 16. “We know we need to include all these people but how, because we all live in different care models.”
Soberman then raised the question of who should take the lead on survivorship care.
“Can the oncologists provide that service with the growing number of survivors and the shortage of oncology physicians?” he said. “Does it turn out to be an advanced practitioner or go back to primary care?”
Monocacy Health Partners at Frederick Regional Health Systems, where Soberman is chief physician executive, has added “people resources” like navigators, coordinators and information technology staff.
The institution also has worked “to free up physicians to do less of the nonvalue-added things,” Soberman said.
It is now instituting a nurse practitioner oncology hospitalist program to handle some follow-up care.
“[There is] a lot of opportunity, but a lot of challenges and clearly a lot of work to do,” Soberman said. – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS
Soberman M. Integrated cancer care team: Opportunities and challenges. Presented at: ACCC Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit; March 14-16, 2018; Washington.
Disclosure: Soberman reports no relevant disclosures.