OCM isn’t just about reporting. It’s about patient-centered care.

Stephanie GingerCare Management Solution, Oncology Care Model, Patient-centered Care

With the Oncology Care Model’s July 2016 launch, nearly 200 providers are implementing a new model of cancer care delivery. While this important program is full of possibility for a better way to care for patients, it has also has providers asking a number of questions:

  • How do I report on the required Monthly Enhanced Oncology Services (MEOS) activities?
  • Who performs each activity and how do I track it?
  • How do I bill for OCM?
  • Will I need to additional staff to comply with the program?

Providers are being asked to make some significant changes in the way they deliver and report cancer care to meet the requirements of this new care model and some of the guidance is still unclear. It’s no surprise participants are concerned about how to provide care that fits into the model.

There are likely many solutions to satisfy the MEOS requirements, but be careful not to forget the point of the program – to improve care of patients receiving chemotherapy. Without coordinated, patient-centered care, the OCM might result in nothing more than reporting and documentation of activities.

Two example workflows for one requirement

Here is a simple example to think about in terms of two workflows, one using your EMR and one using the Navigating Care patient relationship management platform, for pain assessments which is one of the MEOS requirements.  

In the EMR workflow, every month a patient undergoing chemotherapy is asked to complete a pain assessment paper form as they walk into the office. The form is then provided to the provider and then reviewed with the patient.  If care is needed, the provider supports the patient needs and then documents their care in the EMR.  The paper pain assessment document is then uploaded to the patient’s EMR.  The EMR may or may not have the capability to record that intervention for reporting purposes.  If they do have the reporting capability, the provider would need to indicate that a pain assessment was completed for reporting purposes.  Once completed, the patient’s information about their pain may not be seen or referenced again.  

Rate Your Pain ToolIn the second workflow using Navigating Care’s Care Management, a patient starts a round of chemotherapy and has a direct connection to their care team via a patient relationship management (PRM) system. The patient is automatically prompted to report pain electronically and can use whatever medium is preferred, either their smartphone, their tablet or via their computer.  They can report pain as prompted and also as pain occurs which enables a better patient experience and better patient care as patients can get the support they need when they most need it.  If there is reported pain, it is immediately surfaced to a dashboard that is monitored by a dedicated triage nurse. The triage nurse can then call the patient and provide interventions to help with their pain and then record those activities in the PRM system which is surfaced for all care providers to see all patient interactions to care over time.

Patient’s feel more cared for by being able to indicate when they are having an issue and at the same time practices can meet necessary requirements. Staff time is freed up by not handing out paper assessments and collecting information and then submitting that for a provider to review but instead this requirement can be done at home for most patients and also via tablets in the waiting room for patients who aren’t yet digital. All documentation is automatically appended to the patient’s record in the EMR and reporting is automatically generated for OCM and is provided by practice, by provider and by patient. But most importantly, the entire care team – nurses, navigators, social workers and others working in the PRM – have comprehensive information of the patient’s experience during all of their care, when they had pain previously, what was done about it, and more to really understand how to provide the best care for the patient, not just that one experience.  

Both of these workflows technically satisfy OCM requirements, but one is patient-centered and allows for faster intervention and better care.

Improve the quality of cancer care

What if we approached this new model with different questions all centered around improving the patient experience to care?  

  • How do I provide better care with the enhanced activities?
  • How do I improve the patient experience to care?
  • How do I get patients involved to improve their satisfaction with the care delivered?
  • How do I understand the patient experience outside my care to reduce hospitalizations?
  • How do I improve care coordination to reduce costs and improve care delivered?

When all of the care providers, including physicians, triage nurses, navigators, social workers and others all have the same information, they can coordinate the care they provide and understand the patient’s experiences in a much more comprehensive way. If the care or intervention is provided when the patient needs it the most, the patient not only has a better experience, but the care is actually improved.

To learn more about Navigating Care and how it can streamline your workflows, improve communication and coordination and help you improve the quality of care you provide, contact us today.