Friday, February 22, 2008

Start Spreading the News

What a rewarding month I've had!  I’m seeing signs of achieving our two goals:  shortening our wait times, and engaging other physicians in this initiative.

I started February with a visit to Calgary to present our Advanced Access experience.  The audience was very receptive. (Admittedly, their attendance at conference pre-selected them as having an interest in this topic, but still…)   As I mentioned last time, Alberta is already showing great results in their prostate cancer care access project.

On my return, Karen unveiled our latest 3rd next available appointment data:

Is this the time we shift to a new stable system of shorter wait times?  It looks promising!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Alberta Bound

Last week, I had the opportunity to present some of our Advanced Access results at a Prostate Cancer conference in Calgary. Alberta has a province-wide initiative to improve prostate cancer care, and the theme of this conference was improving access. While I was pleased to present our experience with a single aspect of improving access (pooled referrals from family physicians), I'm sure that I learned more than I contributed.

Calgary has developed a Rapid Access Clinic (RAC) for men suspected of having prostate cancer. Men sent to the RAC (a somewhat unfortunate acronym) can be assessed and have tests and biopsies completed in under 2 weeks rather than the previous standard of 3 months. Great work!

Another innovative part of RAC (really guys, let's work on that acronym!) is the group information session. When a man's prostate biopsy shows prostate cancer, he and his family need a lot of information about the nature of the disease and treatment options. In my practice, I generally book a 45-minute appointment to discuss this. This week, I've had 4 such sessions. That eats up a lot of office visit capacity.

In Calgary, men are invited to attend a group information session presented by several specialists, including a urologist and radiation oncologist. Offered several times a month, this program is an effective way to present consistent and comprehensive information using a standard curriculum. After this session, men are better prepared for a private discussion with their own urologist.