Medical Oncology: Patient Care
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At CTCA, we don’t want you to wait long for your appointments. “The greatest difficulty we have in oncology is being able to bring together methods of treating patients in a timely manner without having the whole process disrupted by the administrative aspect of it,” says Dr. Willis.
Thus, we try to streamline our processes to make the most efficient use of everyone’s time. According to Dr. Willis, the average wait time for patients who come through the Outpatient Clinic is about 10 minutes.
The streamlined processes adopted by CTCA are a reflection of our integrative approach. “The coordinator is the medical oncologist, but you can’t tell it in this environment. It’s the nature of the system. It has to do with the administrative support, the mindset, and the philosophy of CTCA. It’s completely integrated,” says Dr. Willis.
Integrated, patient-centered care
The medical oncology team meets daily with each other to discuss patient care. “We are very close, so we can communicate easily with each other,” says Dr. Brunk.
In addition, three times a week, the entire clinical team at Eastern comes together for endorsement meetings. “At these meetings, everyone comes together from all different disciplines to talk about patients. It puts everyone on the same page,” Dr. Willis says.
For instance, let’s say you are undergoing chemotherapy and you aren’t eating well because of nausea. In this setting, your oncologist and dietitian can share knowledge to decide the best way to help you. In the process of this collaboration, they may suggest that you receive your treatment at night so you can eat better during the day. A naturopathic clinician may then suggest a natural therapy to help curb your nausea.
“I believe there is no greater or better treatment than integration of all modalities in a complementary fashion when you are managing oncology,” says Dr. Willis. “We interact and make adjustments to accommodate what is best for the patient. This team approach is the essence of what we do. The Mother Standard® of care is based on this interaction,” he adds.
Through its interactions with all clinical areas of the hospital, Eastern’s Department of Medical Oncology epitomizes a whole-person, patient-centered approach to cancer care.