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    Posted August 22, 2014 by
    Americas, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living with a chronic illness

    Cancer Care that Meets Patient Expectations


    By 2030, the United States is estimated to have 2.3 million cancer cases. the projected rapidly rising number of cancer diagnoses over the next 16 years, comes the necessity for continued improvement in cancer care in the country.

    A large number of cancer patients encounter problems during the course of their treatment and care. Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute
    about the obstacles towards high-quality cancer care, and the facilitators of such care. Delays or lack of coordination, lack of patient awareness and passivity, limited financial resources, difficulty accessing care because of the area of residence, and insufficient attention provided to emotional and social problems during the disease were frequently noted among the list of problems that lead to poor quality care.

    Both patients and caregivers need to access to relevant information, and adequate care and support right at the early stages to have a better chance of beating the disease. For this reason, it is important for cancer care to be well organized and patient centered.The model of Illinois at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, which recently won the 2014 Health grades Outstanding Patient Experience award provides a practical outline for delivering high quality integrative cancer care that, meets the expectations of patients and their families. Some of the ways in which the patient experience can be improved include ensuring timely appointments, helping patients stay on the treatment schedules, and education about billing cycles and financial responsibilities.

    The integrated cancer care approach

    Cancer care which is delivered in a community setting is a great way to provide advanced cancer care. Every patient will have a cancer care team and all providers work together as a single unit that serves the patient. With integrated cancer care, patients will receive a wide range of cancer care medical services including radiation, chemotherapy, imaging, and participation in clinical trials.

    Opportunities for improvement

    In 2006, the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that the initial management of breast and colorectal cancer patients was consistent with the standards specified by a comprehensive set of explicit quality measures. However, there was some variation in adherence to certain quality measures which bring out the necessity of and opportunities for further improvement.

    Empowering patients through education

    Information is the most significant and valuable weapon in the fight against cancer. To help patients fight the most important battle for their life, it is imperativethat they are equipped with all the necessary informational resources that are available and relevant. Websites, forums, blogs, books, resource guides, and online tools can help patients gain sufficient knowledge to fight the battle.

    Collecting more information about patient expectations and experiences is necessary to further improve the quality of patient care. The National Cancer Institute's cancer care outcomes research and surveillance (Cancers) consortium collects data about the experience of cancer care, outcomes, decision-making, and personal characteristics of patients with lung and colorectal cancer. The
    collected data will help bring to light obstacles that prevent patients from receiving adequate care.

    Connecting patients to care providers using computer technology and reformation of provider reimbursement in such a way as to encourage patient-oriented caregiving can go a long way in delivering cancer care that meets the requirements of the patients and their family members.

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