by Sue Wyninegar
A new plan started in January enables City of Hope health-care professionals to spend more quality time with those who need them the most — their patients.
The Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research recently created a new model for providing care that enables physicians and other hospital staff to better focus on patients’ needs. The new model aims to enhance the high standard of care provided by medical oncologists in the outpatient clinic, the Evaluation and Treatment Center and the hospital.
The plan dedicates specific health-care professionals exclusively to either inpatients or outpatients, freeing them from trying to attend to both at the same time.
On the inpatient side, each patient requiring hospitalization is assigned a team of physicians who work together to provide care. This inpatient care team includes an attending physician — who leads the team — as well as a fellow and a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. The team visits patients every day, orders tests, procedures and treatments, and is available to answer questions. In addition to physicians, the patient’s interdisciplinary care team includes nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians and other health-care professionals.
Because the inpatient care team stays in the hospital unit to attend to patient care all day, the new model eliminates time spent by team members going back and forth between inpatients and outpatients. That allows the team to focus on inpatient care.
Outpatients, meanwhile, will continue to consult their primary physicians — their oncologists. These physicians work in the outpatient clinic, communicate with the inpatient care team when the patient is hospitalized, and receive a summary of the patients’ hospital care upon their discharge.
Division of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research leaders believe the new system will benefit both hospitalized patients and those visiting the Medical Center for outpatient care. The model allows primary physicians to focus on their clinic patients, decreases clinic patients’ wait times and improves efficiency.
Additional benefits of the new model include streamlined communication, timely discharge planning, reduced patient safety risks, more collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach to patient care, improved care planning and more support for patients and families.
The new system also decreases time spent on calls for consults and referrals and allows for immediate attention to changes in patients’ conditions, leaders said.
For more information on the new model of care, contact Claudia Garcia, R.N., clinical nurse manager, ext. 62278, or Jill McCormick, R.N., M.S.N., clinical director in Medical Oncology and Nursing Administration, ext. 66010.