Find answers to your most commonly asked questions about Equicare below on the topics listed below.
Don’t see your questions listed? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
Find answers to your most commonly asked questions about Equicare below on the topics listed below.
Is there an audit trail of who is using ECS?
ECS includes an extensive auditing system for tracking access to information by both staff and patients.
Which information is shared between my OIS and EQUICARE?
The information shared with EQUICARE will depend on the OIS you are using, but may include the following:
- Demographics and relevant family history
- Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Radiation Therapy and other therapies
- Transplant History
- Events During Treatment
- Test Results
- Medical Notes
- Healt Information Summary (CCDA)
Can I launch EQUICARE from within my OIS? How does that work?
Equicare Health is a partner of Varian Medical Systems. As such, our integration with Varian’s ARIA OIS is quite significant. Links can be created within the ARIA RO and MO products that lead to specific pages within EQUICARE. These links will also bring the basic patient identifiers so that the patient being worked on in ARIA is opened in ECS. These features streamline the workflow process for the clinician
Does EQUICARE integrate with our Oncology Information System (OIS)? Which OIS can we integrate with?
Equicare Health interfaces with Varian’s ARIA OIS and Elekta’s MOSAIQ OIS..
Can we provide EQUICARE access to external care providers, such as social workers or nutritionists? How does this work?
Yes. EQUICARE works on an install basis, not a license basis. This means that as many people as needed can become users of the system. There is no licensing or cost associated with the number of users. Additionally, because ECS is web based, any computer can be used to access ECS. No dedicated computers are needed.
Can I manage when information is released to patients on the patient portal?
Yes. The EQUICARE allows multiple layers of configuration for publishing information to the patient portal. Specific items can be set to automatically publish, publish after an explicit number of days allowing the clinician to review first, or not publish at all.
Can I control which information patients view in the patient portal?
Yes. EQUICARE works on the basis of clinician “publishing” information to the patient portal so it is available to the patient. Only information that is published by the clinician is visible to the patient.
What is the long term value for patients?
- Improved patient access to treatment details so they are better able to communicate with cancer care providers.
- Enhanced ability to recognize signs and symptoms to report to healthcare providers.
- Better appreciation of resources available to the patient.
- Increased patient sense of ownership and participation in the cancer follow-up process.
Is there any ROI for the Survivorship?
Yes, and we can provide your organization with an estimated ROI that highlights how survivorship can:
- Enable reimbursement for NP led follow-up
- Retain survivors and gain incremental revenue from follow-up procedures
- Provide competitive advantage, increasing referrals
- Increase oncologist capacity for new treatment
Use our ROI calculator to get your estimate now.
What will I need to do to achieve / maintain ACOS Commission on Cancer Accreditation?
Beginning in 2012, organizations must implement a Survivorship Program to achieve / maintain ACOS CoC Accreditation. The intent for the standards is to ensure that cancer patients and family members have access to resources such as:
- patient navigation
- pyscho-social distress management
- survivorship care plans
Contact us to learn more about how Equicare can help you achieve accreditation.
We don’t have resources for a Survivorship Nurse. How will Equicare benefit my organization?
With the built-in interfaces to treatment Oncology Information Systems, staff can create survivorship care plans using minimal staff time. This allows your center to provide meaningful survivorship care with minimal effort.
When should patients be referred into our Survivorship Program?
This will depend on your organizational operation workflow process. We encourage organizations to include patients in their program early, to improve engagement throughout treatment. Some organizations use these milestones:
- Initial Consultation
- Start of Treatment
- End of Treatment
- 1st Follow-Up Visit
What resources do we need to run a Survivorship Program?
Typically a Survivorship Program is run by a Registered Nurse (RN), social worker or Nurse Practioner (NP) with detailed roles and responsibilities. One individual should have overall responsibility for your Survivorship Program. This is typically a dedicated role, staffed by a NP or RN. Depending on the volume of patients at your facility, the program may also include additional NPs, RNs, Social Workers or Nutritionists.
What services should our Survivorship Program offer?
The following components are necessary to provide a comprehensive survivorship program:
- Complete summary of treatment
- Survivorship Care Plan with long term follow up
- Customized / Personalized Education
- Medical Surveillance Guidelines
- Direct interaction with healthcare professionals
Why should we develop a Survivorship Program?
Survivorship Programs improve the quality of patient care by:
- Assisting the patient in the transition from treatment to more routine life
- Improving daily quality of life by better managing side and late effects
- Involving families in survivors’ care
- Enabling and improving PCP involvement in patient care
What is the difference between a Survivorship Program and Navigation Program?
A Navigation Program is about helping a patient through a healthcare system that is sometimes cumbersome without guidance and support. A Survivorship Program provides support for patients after a cancer diagnosis including education for side and late effects of treatments, assistance finding community resources, and a customized care plan that details the next steps living through and beyond cancer.
What is a Survivorship Care plan?
A survivorship care plan should be provided to every patient in the transition period after cancer treatments are complete. The transition to “normal” life after cancer treatments can be a difficult time for patients. A survivorship care plan provides the patient with many important pieces of health care information which can help ease this transition.
First, a survivorship care plan should include a summary of all the treatments received by the patient. This information can be provided to another doctor or health care practitioner, such as the patient’s Primary Care Physician. A survivorship care plan should also include a follow-up plan which is a timeline of recommended tests and appointments. This is to help the patient understand the follow-up care they will receive. This is a central part of ensuring that the patient knows they will still have contact with the care team in the future. If the patient is going to be transitioned back to the family doctor, the patient understands what needs to take place to ensure that they remain cancer free and do not suffer needlessly from any side effects of treatment. This follow-up plan can also be useful to the family doctor who may not be familiar with follow-up care recommendations. A survivorship care plan should also include the contact information of care team members and information on the current and future side-effects the patient may be at risk for developing.
What is Navigation?
Navigation is a process by which a person working within the health care system (often called a patient navigator, nurse navigator or navigator) helps ‘navigate’ patients through the tests and treatments needed to deal with their cancer diagnosis. The navigator is a highly resourceful person who is able to pay special attention to a patient’s medical and social situation. Their job is make sure that the patient gets the medical tests and appointments needed so that they get treatment in a timely fashion. They can also help with other aspects of their lives such as financial, communication or emotional problems. A navigator can help a person prevent and eliminate some of the challenges they may encounter when facing a diagnosis of cancer.
What is Survivorship?
Survivorship refers to ‘surviving’ a diagnosis of cancer. Often, people are described as survivors from the day that they are diagnosed. This is because they are now living with cancer and surviving it on a daily basis. Cancer survivors need in-depth follow up care after active treatment to deal with the after-effects of many of the cancer treatments. Also, many patients do not receive the monitoring required to detect cancer recurrence or a new cancer. Survivorship care covers these needs.
What is a treatment summary and why do I need one?
A treatment summary shows all the various surgeries, medications, radiation treatments and unusual events that happened during your cancer treatment. It also includes details like hospitalizations, fevers and adverse reactions. With this all in one document, it is easy to inform your current and future care givers about your history with cancer.
What is a Survivorship Care Plan and why do I need one?
Your survivorship care plan should be given to you by your health care provider. A survivorship care plan provides you with many important pieces of health care information. First, a survivorship care plan should include a summary of all the treatments you received. This information can be provided to another doctor or health care practitioner. A survivorship care plan should also include a follow-up plan which is a timeline of recommended tests and appointments. This is to help you play an active role in your long term health by informing you of when to have tests completed. This is a central part of ensuring that you remain cancer free and do not suffer needlessly from any side effects of treatment. What side effects are you currently experiencing? Are they impairing your ability to lead a normal life? The care plan is set up to help you manage side effects and also let you know when it is appropriate to notify your health care provider. Other information in a survivorship care plan should include the contact information of your care team members and information on the current and future side-effects you may be at risk for developing.
Is the patient portal secure?
The patient portal is very secure. We take great care to ensure that your health information is safe and private. Any person who logs onto the patient portal must do so with their own unique name and password. Only health care providers who are directly involved in your care will have access to any of the information available on the patient portal.
When can I see the results of some of my medical tests on the patient portal?
Lab tests and medical notes are often reviewed by your health care team first before becoming available on the patient portal. Your health care team may want to include a note to you about the results, or investigate the results further before they make them available to you. Some routine test results may become available to you as soon as they are entered into the hospital computer system. Your care team can let you know exactly when test results and other information will be available to you on the patient portal.
What kinds of medical information can the patient portal provide to me?
The following types of information are available through the patient portal:
- the contact information for all the members of your health care team
- a complete list of past, present and future appointments
- a summary of all the treatments that you have received as well as other related health information
- education articles that provide information on cancer, treatment options and side effects of the treatments
- questionnaires which can be used to understand how you are feeling
- results of lab tests and other tests.
- secure messages sent from your care provider(s)
Why would HL7 interfaces affect my ROI?
The set up of HL7 interfaces between hospital systems and ECS increases the cost of survivorship implementation, and is included in the expense calculation.
Do you include staff salaries in this calculation?
Yes, we use your current size and plans for the growth of the program to estimate the number of nurse navigators (or other dedicated employees) required to manage the program now and in the years to come. This is included in the expense calculation.
Why is my ROI for a manual survivorship program negative?
Running a manual survivorship program is less efficient than using a dedicated tool. Because survivorship programs require paid staff time, the cost to run the program manually may be greater than the revenues the program generates.
What is a manual survivorship program?
Manual survivorship is how we describe programs that are run using paper or excel spreadsheets. While it’s possible to run a program like this, it’s less efficient, and for some organizations, particularly free-standing clinics, may cost more to run than revenues generated.
What’s the difference between incremental net income and ROI?
The ROI is simply the difference between the total revenue and expenses of managing a survivorship program. The incremental net income is the difference between the ROI an organization realizes when using an electronic tool like ECS, and the ROI from running a manual survivorship program. This is an important figure to present when considering whether to introduce an electronic tool, or attempt a manual program.
Where does the revenue come from?
The major sources of revenue are from increased Nurse Navigator efficiency – fewer FTEs can manage the same (or more) patients, additional imaging studies, which may have been lost without pro-active survivorship planning, and increased rates of patient attendance at reimbursable follow-up appointments.
How do you calculate the ROI?
Equicare Health partnered with American Medical Accounting & Consulting Inc (AMAC), one of the leading firms in the radiation oncology industry, to develop a comprehensive pro-forma tool. Based on reimbursement data, and information about the size, make up and growth projections of an organization, we can use the pro-forma to calculate an expected five year ROI. You can often get an ROI by running a paper or excel based survivorship program, so we calculate that information, and present the incremental net income too.