Oncology Supportive Care Program Improves Patient Experience, Reduces Societal Costs


The Supportive Care of Oncology Patients (SCOOPs) program at the Helen F Graham Cancer Center (New Castle County, DE) implements enhanced nurse navigation and palliative/supportive care to improve the patient experience and reduce societal costs.

Christopher Koprowski, MD, MBA, radiation oncology, Helen F Graham Cancer Center, and colleagues presented the results of the SCOOPs program at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium (September 28-29, 2018; Phoenix, AZ).

Researchers believed that introducing supportive care management and enhanced electronic aids to nurse navigation in selective curative cases could result in cost savings and enhanced patient experience in those with advanced disease. To test this belief, they implemented the SCOOPs program in November 2016 and limited the scope to patients receiving concurrent radiation and chemotherapy at one of the multidisciplinary clinics at the Helen F Graham Cancer Center and diagnosed with potentially curable thoracic, colorectal, or head and neck malignancies.

A modified nurse navigation checklist with mandatory tasks at various timepoints before, during, and after patient treatment was implemented as standard care. Among the mandatory tasks were designated communication dates with the patients; scheduled consults; evaluating additional or unmet needs throughout treatment; supportive and palliative care screening; and detailed notes in the inpatient information system that notifies supportive care service, nurse navigators, and oncologists when patients are seen, admitted, and discharged from the ED.

Additionally, nurse navigators were required to opt out of ancillary care services such as nutrition, behavioral health, and social work consults.


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Results of this program showed an increase in nurse compliance from 94% to 99% within the first 12 months of the program. ED visits decreased from 54% to 32%, emergency admissions from 34% to 25%, and readmissions from 32% to 20% among patients in the SCOOP program. Opportunity cost savings were $1500 per patient, researchers noted.

“Much like the results observed in advanced disease, the early introduction of enhanced nurse navigation and palliative/supportive care in high acuity patients treated curatively improved the patient experience and reduced societal costs,” authors of the study concluded.—Zachary Bessette