Lung screening demo video

Lung screening has become a hot topic since CMS and other private payers announced that they would reimburse care providers for lung screening services. This announcement is excellent news for the general public: lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related mortality in the United States and screening can significantly improve outcomes by detecting lung cancer earlier when it is more treatable.

There are an estimated 8.7 million people eligible for lung screening in the US, which means providers will need to ramp up their screening programs to meet this need. EQUICARE CS includes a built in tool set to meet this specific need.  Learn more about how we support lung screening in the demo video below.

Equicare v4.5 Training Webinar

We are proud to introduce significant improvements to EQUICARE CS and Active Patient Portal in release v4.5, and we’d like to share those improvements in a training webinar. In this session we’ll demonstrate features including major improvements to the Education Library, the addition of new features like Compliance Worklists, and updates to the treatment summary.

The upgrade is available to all Equicare customers in late May so please register for a training webinar to learn more.  These identical sessions are geared towards existing Equicare users, but will also be helpful to new or prospective users, so please register now to learn more! Read more

Finding the ROI in Survivorship

Based on our experience, most oncology healthcare providers believe in the value of navigation and survivorship, and most patients appreciate having access to it. These services can help providers ensure patients receive the long-term care they need, and help patients play a more active role in their health. The Institute of Medicine has been advocating survivorship since their 2005 “Lost in Transition” paper, and the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer has now changed their accreditation requirements to include survivorship planning.

So why isn’t everyone doing it?  One of the most common obstacles organizations face is cost.  Managing a large-scale survivorship program usually requires the use of new electronic tools, and often hiring dedicated staff members. For many organizations, the investment is hard to justify, especially in a time of shrinking budgets.

What many organizations don’t realize is that survivorship & navigation can actually deliver a return on investment, often within a few years of implementation. We are now pleased to introduce a Pro-forma tool that calculates what we expect this return to be. For example, take a look at the 5-year return from 2 fictitious, though typical, organizations below.

This tool was developed in partnership with American Medical Accounting & Consulting Inc (AMAC), one of the leading firms in the radiation oncology industry. Based on this reimbursement data, and information about the size, make-up and growth projections of an organization, we can calculate an expected 5-year ROI to help justify an initial investment. Although the data above is fictitious, it represents the real return organizations can expect to realize when using an electronic survivorship product like EQUICARE CS.

Don’t believe us?  Let us prove it!  Contact us to learn more about where these numbers come from and get an ROI calculation specific to your organization.

More questions?  We’ll try to answer some below:

  1. 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.
  2. What is a manual survivorship program?
    In the table above, we reference a manual survivorship program – this 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 like the one in the example above, actually causes the organization to lose money.
  3. Where does the revenue come from?The major sources of revenue are from:
    • Increased rates of patient attendance at reimbursable follow-up appointments
    • Increased Nurse Navigator efficiency – fewer FTEs can manage the same (or more) patients
    • For hospitals with imaging – we include revenue from additional in imaging studies, which may have been lost without survivorship & navigation
  4. 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.

ECS for Clinical Trials

EQUICARE CS (ECS) was original designed for cancer survivorship, but it’s powerful enough to support a wide variety of other applications, including, as we recently discovered, Clinical Trials.  How can you use a tool aimed at survivorship for clinical trials?

Well, during a recent product management meeting, the team got into this discussion about clinical trials because one of our newly installed customers was looking for organizational support for a trial.  Once we started talking about it, we quickly realized that ECS could easily be used to support clinical trials. So much of clinical trials work is keeping track of stuff – medical tests, appointments, data submissions etc. ECS was designed to help the clinician keep track of survivorship tasks, and clinical trials are like survivorship but with another level of detail – specific to clinical trials people

Read more

Workflow Analysis – Why do we do it?

The EQUICARE CS installation and support program includes a full analysis of your clinical workflow, conducted to ensure survivorship, navigation, and patient engagement tools  are incorporated into your daily operations effectively.  Finding a workflow that works for your organization important to the success of your  programs; and in fact, we think it’s so important that we employ a full time Workflow Specialist.  Meet Tricia Cox, former Nurse Navigator and ECS user, and current Clinical Workflow Specialist at Equicare.

Every organization is different, so Tricia works with each customer to develop workflow solutions that work for their unique needs.  What does that look like?  Tricia describes the process and how it can help below…

What does a workflow specialist do for customers?

I work with clients to determine what is working and what is not within their current workflow.  Usually that means I find processes that need to be added to benefit patients for navigation and/or survivorship care.  Many facilities are trying to incorporate new standards of care for distress screening or survivorship care, but others are trying to improve current models of care.  The ultimate goal is to improve the patient care process within the facility.

Do you have any examples of how a Workflow analysis helps customers?

Yes, I’ve got lots!

When one site began using the software, the nurse navigator was using check marks on paper to figure out her patient contacts.  She then entered her data into an excel spreadsheet to meet reporting guidelines for her administrative team.  After taking a look at her needs, I showed her how to use the report capabilities within our software and was able to generate excel spreadsheets and reports automatically—freeing her time to see more patients.

Another site self-identified workflow problems and so I went out for a site visit after they had been running for several months.  Upon visiting the facility, we mutually determined some workflow enhancements, like a centrally located print station and the consolidation of efforts between team members.  Often care providers are entrenched in their systems and find it difficult to see the problems, although they know they exist!

When does a workflow analysis usually occur?

I typically get involved with an institution or center once ECS has been purchased and decisions on implementation are being made.  We start this process with something called Kick off, and this is usually when the nuances of the software are presented.  I like to get involved as early as possible to better understand who is involved with patient care, what their roles are and how they currently impact their patients.  We have frequent calls/web interactions as we go over workflow.  I can go on site early in the process if we cannot figure out the workflow process via web calls, otherwise we can wait and have an on site visit closer to going live or after going live.  Ultimately the timing is driven by customer needs.

Why does Equicare feel so strongly about the value of Workflow Analysis?

This analysis makes a BIG difference to customers, usually by identifying ways to save time on administrative tasks, leaving more time to focus on patient care.  Planning  workflow is one of the tasks that may be overlooked by busy organizations, but taking the time to find out the most efficient was of using the software ultimately benefits not just the organization but the patients, by enabling more regular contact and follow up.

And from my perspective – I just love problem solving!  Every site is slightly different and so is their workflow, which is very appealing from a problem solving perspective. Each site uses software features differently and working to see what works best for each site is very gratifying. Ultimately, if we work to improve patient care and patient experience, everyone wins.

Please contact us to learn more about conducting a workflow analysis in your organization.

CASE STUDY: Phelps County Regional Medical Center Installs ECS

“Equicare brings us the Navigation and Survivorship functionality we were looking for, and enables us to keep in closer, more regular contact with our patients to improve quality of care”

Carol Walter, MSN, RN
Nurse Navigator, Oncology Services, PCRMC

pdfDownload the PCRMC Case Study (pdf)

Background

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) offers excellence in integrated cancer services, with a cancer care team comprised of highly skilled physicians and medical professionals who specialize in an array of cancer treatment fields, and treat a wide variety of cancers. The center, a hospital owned outpatient radiation and medical oncology services provider, is accredited by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) and is currently in a growth phase, adding a new cancer center to its care network. Read more

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