Navigating Cancer's Triage Software with Symptom Management Pathways Facilitates $3.4 Million in Annual Savings

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Analysis of data from two community oncology practices finds triage nurses employing technology solution prevents unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations

Study shows technology-based triage system and symptom management pathways result in significant savings for cancer care providers.

Navigating Cancer, Inc., a Seattle-based healthcare technology firm and Cancer Center Business Development Group, a Florida-based oncology business advisor to oncology practices, announced today the results of a four-month study that examined patient care data to quantify the dollar amount of attributable savings from resolving critical clinical issues that would have otherwise resulted in avoidable trips to the Emergency Department (ED).

The study was based on data from two mid-sized community oncology practices, the Center for Blood & Cancer Disorders of Fort Worth, Texas and Northwest Medical Specialties of Tacoma, Washington. The two practices are innovators in value-based oncology care, both with multiple value-based alternative payment programs in place, including the CMS Oncology Care Model (OCM) and have been at the forefront of efforts to reduce the cost of cancer care. Both practices have deployed the Navigating Cancer technology platform that manages symptoms and applies triage pathways to scale.

In order to quantify savings from these methods, Navigating Cancer and Cancer Center Business Development Group completed a focused study based on data generated during the course of a four-month period (January through April 2017).

In the study, the triage intervention “tickets” generated by the care management system during the study period were critiqued by an oncology-certified nurse (OCN) and it was determined that there were 133 triage interventions that prevented unnecessary ED incidents. Annualized, the figure would be 399 avoided ED trips at the two practices. OCM data from the practices was used to identify the average cost of an ED visit as well as to determine the ratio of ED visits to hospital admissions at each practice’s primary referral hospitals as well as the weighted average costs of those hospitalizations. The number of ED incidents avoided plus the associated hospitalizations avoided were multiplied by the respective average costs. That sum was then used to determine cost savings for both the Medicare (OCM) and commercial patient populations at the two practices.

Results: The study found that as a result of routine, disciplined symptom management and use of triage software with embedded symptom pathways for cancer treatment patients, the two practices are saving the healthcare system $1.8 million and $1.6 million per year respectively, a total annual savings of $3.4 million.

About the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders team of 25 cancer specialists puts patients at the center of a coordinated health plan, with everyone from oncologists, nurses and patient navigators to nutritionists, pharmacists, counselors and support groups working together to provide access to the most advanced technologies, ground-breaking treatments, and compassionate care. Services are provided at nine locations across the Northern Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area.

About Northwest Medical Specialties. Northwest Medical Specialties provides compassionate, experienced and innovative treatment in cancer care and infectious diseases. Northwest’s six practice locations throughout the Puget Sound area are staffed by 15 board-certified oncologists/hematologists and mid-level providers, specially trained oncology nurses and administrative staff offering full service chemotherapy treatments and other types of infusions, laboratory services clinical trials opportunities and cancer support services such as financial counseling, psychosocial screening, palliative care and survivorship programs.

About Navigating Cancer. Navigating Cancer was founded in 2008 as the result of two healthcare and technology veterans coming together to fill a critical gap in oncology care: a better patient experience. Driven by a shared passion to leverage technology in the healthcare space, the co-founders set out to create the first patient-centered platform for oncology. Today, our Navigating Care platform supports over one million patients and thousands of cancer care providers nationwide to lower costs, improve patient satisfaction and drive better outcomes.

About Cancer Center Business Development Group. Cancer Center Business Development Group provides business and financial advisory expertise to stakeholders in the delivery of cancer care. Services include practice partnering strategies; development and operational transformation of comprehensive cancer service lines/cancer centers; design and implementation of innovative cancer care delivery models, such as the oncology medical home and oncology specialist networks and value-based alternative payment models in oncology, including the Oncology Care Model (OCM) and commercial bundled pricing methodologies.

For further information regarding the symptom management and triage pathways study, contact: Stephanie Ginger, Navigating Cancer (800-925-4456) or Ronald Barkley, MS, JD, CCBD Group (603-440-9510; rbarkley(at)ccbdgroup(dot)com).

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Stephanie Ginger
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