I’m pleased to be prominently featured in this new article just out in Clinical Oncology News,
Oncology Medical Homes Are Proving Their Mettle and Worth
Here’s my portion:
…Structured triage is another process of care, and it is critical to the success of an OMH, according to Barbara McAneny, MD, the CEO of New Mexico Cancer Center, in Albuquerque. Dr. McAneny received a grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to develop a community OMH and implement the model, called COME HOME, in seven practices across the country.
“Nobody really knows what triage is,” she said. “Many practices claim they do triage, but when a patient calls, they are instructed to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. That is not triage.”
When patients call Dr. McAneny’s practice, they speak to “somebody who knows something about their disease, and about them as a person, and about the drugs that they’re taking and about the [drugs’] side effects,” she said. Patients’ calls are answered immediately with phone operators handling administrative tasks, such as rescheduling appointments, and triage nurses addressing clinical issues.
The COME HOME–designed triage system has 38 symptom-specific pathways, such as pain, nausea and vomiting, or fatigue. Certain calls result in recommendations for things that the patient can do at home. With its computerized decision support, the triage system also can trigger follow-up calls to patients or allow for same-day appointments when patients have more serious issues (Figure). For instance, if a patient reported that he or she has nausea and vomiting, the nurse would schedule a same-day appointment. The result is consistent, systematic triage of all patient symptoms, according to Dr. McAneny.