March 12: Collaboration to Improve Care
What’s our secret? How does Banner Good Samaritan earn its reputation as the hospital in the Valley that is always available to deliver complex care? One of our key strategies is take the talents of multiple specialists and disciplines and create structures where information can be shared. It is in this environment of learning, challenging each other and asking questions where we create value for our patients. One example is the various Tumor Boards at Banner Good Sam. Let’s read the words of Kathy Altergott, director of our Oncology Service line, as she describes the story of how this department works across silos to improve care every day ...
Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Tumor Boards at BGSMC
By Kathy Altergott
A few years ago we brought our physicians together and asked them, “What does a cancer center look like to you and what do we need to do to get there?” One of their answers was to hold multi-specialty, cancer-specific tumor boards. We had Liver, breast and GYN boards already going. To make this a reality we pulled together a team and developed four new tumor boards.
In the past two years we have started GI/Colorectal, Thoracic, Head and Neck and Malignant Hematology multi-specialty tumor boards. In March we will be starting our Urology tumor boards. This is amazing because it takes highly engaged physicians to make them successful and that is what we have here at BGSMC. Most of our tumor boards start at 7 a.m. and the rooms are full.
Cases are identified by the treating physicians. The cases are pulled together with pathology, labs, history and physical, imaging studies by Allyn LeBlanc, Becca Keller and our oncology data management staff. The multi-specialty teams consist of radiologists, pathologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, physician specialists, genetic counselor, nurses, therapists and other interested members.
The referring physician presents the case and provides a brief history of the patient and presenting symptoms. The radiologist will present the diagnostic imaging studies that were performed and the pathologist will review the pathology slides and findings from biopsy or surgery. Then the discussion starts on what are the best treatment options for this patient to provide the best possible outcomes. There is lively conversation by all physicians as a treatment plan is decided and agreed on by the team.
How fortunate for our patients that we have the physician expertise to decide the best possible care for our patients. Recently when I asked the physicians about starting the urology tumor board they all said, “Yes, what day and what time? We will be there.”
Once again I am amazed and proud of our outstanding physicians and cancer care providers here at BGSMC!