Practice Spotlight: Northwest Medical Specialties

Stephanie GingerOncology Care Model, Value-based Care

While many cancer care providers are still working on understanding exactly what programs like the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Oncology Care Model (OCM) mean to them, many of our partner clinics have jumped into the deep end of value-based care and are leading the way for others. One of those is Northwest Medical Specialties (NWMS), a comprehensive cancer care practice based in the Pacific Northwest.

They have been at the forefront of practice transformation for some time and will even be receiving a 2017 Innovator Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers at the National Oncology Conference this fall. Described by the ACCC as forward-thinking in the development of “innovative strategies for the effective delivery of cancer care,” it’s exciting to see where they are heading next.

At the outset of OCM last July, NWMS approached the program requirements like they would a clinical research study, carefully organizing their efforts, implementing a specialized process, and tracking their progress with that same rigor. And they are already seeing very promising results like lower costs and reduced emergency department and hospital utilization. Beyond the OCM population, they have also been able to identify areas for practice-wide improvement that they can apply for their entire patient population.

In order to scale these innovative strategies to all of their patients, NWMS recognized the need for a more high tech solution. They partnered with Navigating Cancer to not only implement triage software, remote monitoring and patient engagement tools, but also to co-develop a technology solution that automates their process to deliver coordinated and proactive care.

Navigating Cancer’s Population Health solution allows cancer care providers to deliver personalized care at a population level. It enables the care team to assign a patient to one or more population groups, each with their own associated tasks, timelines, and alerts. So rather than relying on post-it notes, Outlook calendars or other manual tools – which can be difficult to track, especially if a patient is in multiple populations – the care team is presented with a “to do list” each day via the software and can follow the prompts provided to ensure they are providing the best care possible and complying with program requirements.

NWMS has already seen that this type of personalized care does lower costs and keep patients on track and now with Population Health high quality, coordinated and proactive care can be provided with the same rigor to every patient. Here’s a story and video featuring one of their patients.