No Summer Vacation for Clinical Pathways

Summer is a time for rest and relaxation, a chance to recharge after long and stressful winters. However, for medical professionals—particularly oncologists—the beginning of June is one of the more hectic times of the year. I mean that in the best possible way.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting is held in Chicago over the first weekend of June. Journal of Clinical Pathways staff will be attending the meeting in order to provide the most comprehensive coverage for our readers. Come say hi to us at our booth in the exhibition hall (Booth 2116). Until then, you can familiarize yourself with some of the highlights by reading a preview of the meeting in this issue (page 12). Of particular interest should be an education session entitled “Guidelines and Pathways for the Practicing Oncologist,” chaired by Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, a frequent contributor to our journal.

Oncology is further represented in our research articles this month. Whitney C Rhodes, PhD, and colleagues have studied the cost-effectiveness of employing patient navigators to aid in the successful completion of colorectal cancer screenings (page 31). Patient navigators act as liaisons before and during colorectal cancer screenings, providing information regarding appropriate bowel preparation and appointment attendance. They have been shown to improve screening preparedness and reduce disparities in colonoscopy receipt. Dr Rhodes and colleagues examined the financial implications of patient navigation, and suggested potential areas for future research within this growing field.

Elsewhere in the issue, Chris Lau, MD, and Amit S Dhamoon, MD, PhD, explore the impact of multidisciplinary rounds (MDR) on both patient-centered outcomes and care coordination in the inpatient setting (page 37). Drs Lau and Dhamoon conducted a pilot study in which MDRs were implemented at SUNY Downstate Medical Center (Syracuse, NY); during and following implementation, both patients and care providers were surveyed to determine actual and perceived efficacy. Following MDR introduction, the researchers observed a 10% relative reduction in length of stay, suggesting a positive connection between MDR and improved care coordination. Surveyed physicians and nurses reported improvement in many areas of care, such as communication, workflow, and patient safety. MDR has been underutilized in managed care delivery; the research presented here makes a strong case for its increased prominence.

It is an exciting time to be involved in the development of clinical pathways and value-based care, as these studies—and the research coming out of ASCO—show. We hope to see you in Chicago!