Case Study

How TN Oncology Used ePROs to Scale Oncology Care Management

Key Takeaways

The challenge
With a growing number of patients in value-based care arrangements, Tennessee Oncology (TN Oncology) needed a way to proactively coordinate patient care, as well as collect the necessary patient data to satisfy value-based contracts. At the same time, they were challenged by a slowly growing workforce, while attempting to meet the demands of increasing patient volumes.

The organization
TN Oncology is a community-based cancer care specialty practice with over thirty clinics across the state of Tennessee. The organization provides on-site chemotherapy treatments and is a key player in oncology clinical trial research. TN Oncology is a founding practice partner of OneOncology, a physician-led community oncology network with over 500 providers.

The approach
In 2016, TN Oncology launched an ePRO program to scale their care management efforts. To simplify communication between patients and the clinics, TN Oncology partnered with a vendor to create a single platform to house both their patient portal and ePRO program. Beginning with a pilot program of five clinics staffed by two nurses, the ePRO program expanded to more than thirty clinics through a dedicated, centralized care coordination team.

The result
TN Oncology’s ePRO program has helped the organization satisfy value-based care requirements and differentiate itself to payers with its quality outcomes. Additionally, the program has led to positive downstream impacts such as increased patient satisfaction and reduced number of tasks physicians receive in the EMR. As a next step, TN Oncology hopes to embed support services, such as pharmacy services, financial counseling, as well as clinical trials within the ePRO platform to ensure a seamless experience for patients and clinicians.

Sponsored by
Pfizer logo

This article is sponsored by Pfizer. Advisory Board experts wrote the article, conducting the underlying research independently and objectively. Pfizer had the opportunity to review the article.

 

Approach

For organizations looking to scale existing care management efforts and improve patient-centered care delivery, below are TN Oncology’s six keys to successfully building an ePRO program.

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    Clearly articulate the goals and scope of the ePRO program    

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    Budget adequate time to identify the right technology partner

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    Centralize staffing infrastructure to standardize care delivery

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    Build workflows that enable prioritization and scale

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    Equip patients with ongoing digital training support

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    Take an iterative approach to boosting patient response rates

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Results

TN Oncology tracks four metrics to evaluate the success of their program: hospitalization rates, ED visits, referrals to supportive care, and patient satisfaction. To date, they have seen improvement across all four metrics.

Outside of these specific metrics, TN Oncology’s ePRO program has helped to:

  • Measure success of quality improvement efforts: TN Oncology analyzes aggregate ePRO data to identify points in care where they can be more proactive and improve on care delivery and patient experience. Results and progress are then shared with the board and with clinicians through clinic scorecards and a weekly bulletin from the CMO.
  • Differentiate TN Oncology to payers: TN Oncology uses ePRO program data to satisfy value-based care requirements and negotiate better contracts. For example, TN Oncology was able to compare their quality outcomes (e.g., reduced hospitalization rates) to others in the state.
  • Improve patient and provider satisfaction: The ePRO program has boosted support provided to patients (e.g., two-hour-or-less response times to inbound symptom management triage calls), which has improved patient experience. In addition, the program has reduced the number of physician tasks in the EMR, which has led to positive feedback from physicians.
  • Partner with pharma on clinical studies: TN Oncology supplies ePRO data to pharmaceutical companies to help provide real world evidence on treatment protocols.

Looking ahead, TN Oncology plans to integrate specialty pharmacy and clinical trials into the platform to further integrate components of oncology care into a singular platform.

 

Conversations you should be having

  1. Identifying how ePROs can advance strategic priorities to establish a vision and gain buy-in
  2. Engaging cross-industry partners to identify opportunities for collaboration (especially among provider, technology, life science, advocacy, and research organizations)
  3. Deciding which components of an ePRO program should be condition-specific vs. condition-agnostic, taking into account both population-level and individual patient priorities
  4. Determining how to evaluate ePRO program success and leverage that success to engage payers

Conversations focused on ePROs are likely related to ongoing conversations around care management and remote patient monitoring. To incentivize and finance ePRO programs, leaders should consider them as part of the larger infrastructure investments required to support the transition to value-based care and care at home.

 

About the sponsor

At Pfizer Oncology, we are committed to advancing medicines wherever we believe we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with cancer. Today, we have an industry-leading portfolio of 24 approved innovative cancer medicines and biosimilars across more than 30 indications, including breast, genitourinary, colorectal, blood and lung cancers, as well as melanoma.

Learn More About Pfizer

This report is sponsored by Pfizer, an Advisory Board member organization. Representatives of Pfizer helped select the topics and issues addressed. Advisory Board experts w rote the report, maintained final editorial approval, and conducted the underlying research independently and objectively. Advisory Board does not endorse any company, organization, product or brand mentioned herein.

To learn more, view our editorial guidelines

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