Oncology Practice First in Nation to Earn ‘Medical Home’ Recognition
- Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC recently became the first oncology practice in the nation to earn Level III recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) under its Physician Practice Connections-Patient Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) Program. The practice provides care at Crozer-Keystone Health System hospitals.
- According to the NCQA, Medical Home practice related physicians provide superior, patient-centered care by providing open scheduling, expanded hours, appropriate use of proven health information systems and assumption of an enhanced level of care coordination and communication with all treating physicians.
- Only 389 practices in the nation, and only 63 in Pennsylvania, have achieved Level III status. Two Crozer-Keystone primary care practices have achieved this recognition.
Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC, which provides care at Crozer-Keystone Health System hospitals, recently became the first oncology practice in the nation to earn Level III recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) under its Physician Practice Connections-Patient Centered Medical Home (PPC-PCMH) Program. The practice was recognized for using information systems to measure practice-wide clinical quality and improve clinical outcomes at the point of care. Previously, only primary care practices have earned this recognition.
PPC-PCMH identifies practices that promote partnerships between individual patients and their personal physicians, instead of treating patient care as the sum of several episodic office visits. Each patient’s care is tended to by a physician-led care team, who provides for all the patient’s cancer care needs and coordinate treatments across the complex health care system. Medical Home practice related physicians provide superior, patient-centered care by providing open scheduling, expanded hours, appropriate use of proven health information systems and assumption of an enhanced level of care coordination and communication with all treating physicians.
To achieve recognition, Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC met key program measures in all of the following areas:
- Use of patient registries
- Adherence to nationally accepted cancer treatment guidelines
- Full set of electronic medical record systems
- Provision of educational resources in English and/or a second language
- Practice-wide quality measurement and improvement efforts
- Strategies for avoidance of potential complications of treatment and disease
- Screening, referrals and follow-up for at-risk patients
- Uniform application of cancer prevention strategies
- Structured, standardized care for patients with chronic conditions.
Only 389 practices in the nation, and only 63 in Pennsylvania, have achieved Level III status. Two Crozer-Keystone primary care practices, the Center for Family Health in Springfield and Crozer Medical Associates, achieved Level III status in 2009. Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC is the first specialty practice to achieve this NCQA recognition in the Crozer-Keystone Health System.
John D. Sprandio, M.D., the lead physician of Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC as well as medical director of the Delaware County Regional Cancer Center and chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, says that his practice begins its role as a “medical home” at the time of the diagnosis of cancer, continues through treatment and ongoing cancer survivorship care coordination.
“At the time of diagnosis of cancer, we assume the primary responsibility for the medical needs and coordination of care of patients requiring complex evaluation and active treatment of their oncologic and hematologic conditions. We do not assume the management of non-oncologic medical issues from the patient’s primary care physician,” he says. “An intense level of communication between our efforts and the primary care team is consistently maintained.”
Sprandio says that at the core of the practice’s effort is enhanced collaboration from the clinical support and treatment team and greater emphasis on consistently preventing complications of both disease and therapy, improving medical compliance, proactive management and treatment of conditions and monitoring and measuring results. Dr. Sprandio is being increasingly recognized nationally for innovations in the process of cancer care and improved results achieved within his practice due to the application of the Patient-Centered Medical Home model to cancer care.
Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC began to lay the foundation for its electronic medical record system in 2003. By January 2006, the practice had transitioned to a “paperless” practice that was fully interfaced with the laboratory, radiology, pathology and medical record departments of all of its affiliated hospitals.
In addition, the practice created customized software to better suit physician, patient and practice needs to format, standardize and collect critical patient management and utilization data. Among those enhancements:
- A customized patient education program
- Standardized documentation process
- Unscheduled visit utilization tracking program
- Outside testing, result and appointment tracking program
- Medication review/patient instruction program
- Symptom management instruction program
- Enhanced patient queuing/tracking program
- Remote access to most recent medication lists and lab results by patients
- Physician dictation tool program
- Physician documentation management review, approval and status program
- Health screening tracking program.
In addition to technological resources and educational programs, the practice also added patient navigators to help assist patients in many ways, including gathering all clinical data, arranging all necessary appointments with primary care physicians and specialists, and scheduling all ordered testing.
The practice has seen a range of positive results since implementing its system in 2006. For example:
- A campaign to make patients more involved in their own care has resulted in a dramatic increase (more than doubled) of clinical phone calls to the practice.
- The percentage of patients in the practice who required emergency room referrals decreased by almost by 50 percent, while the percentage of patients who called the practice for same-day visits (per the practice’s educational efforts) more than doubled. The practice saw similar results in its efforts to have patients with dehydration symptoms call the practice for assistance allowing avoidance of unnecessary emergency room visits or admission to the hospital.
- The standardization of outpatient anti-nausea prevention and therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy has decreased the incidence of post treatment nausea and the number of prescriptions and refills for anti-nausea medications dramatically.
To find out if your physician is PPC-PCMH-recognized, or for further information about the program, visit http://recognition.ncqa.org/. To order application materials, call (888) 275-7585 or order online at http://www.ncqa.org/tabid/629/Default.aspx.
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information through the Web, media and data licensing agreements in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.
Consultants in Medical Oncology & Hematology, PC consists of nine physicians and approximately 75 employees providing care at seven hospitals, including Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Taylor Hospital, Springfield Hospital and Crozer-Chester Medical Center. For more information, visit www.cmoh.org.