Dr Marcus Neubauer Discusses the Evolution of Care Teams in Oncology

As practices shift to value-based care, they need truly coordinated care teams that discuss high-risk patients and identify ways to deliver care to them, said Marcus Neubauer, MD, chief medical officer, US Oncology.

As more practices shift to delivering value-based care, how will their care teams change and evolve?
You said something very important: you said, “care teams.” And I think that I would emphasize that. Because cancer care clinics have always had sort of care teams—there’s a doctor, there’s a nurse, there’s somebody checking the patient in, there’s somebody who’s giving that person treatment—but that’s not a really coordinated care team. That’s just sort of a group of people, and I think that care teams are actually a really good sort of practice infrastructure that needs to be refined.

True teams that are coordinated—we use the term “team huddles,” many of our practices have adopted team huddles, where the team meets and they talk about patients who are high risk, and a physician may not know a patient is high risk, but a social worker may say, “Hey, this person has a really bad social situation,” or somebody in the financial office may say, “This patient can’t find a way to pay their copays, and that’s a stress on them.” These are things you learn in a team huddle. So, I think this is something that we need to adapt as a more uniform way that we practice. This takes time.

One thing I will say that’s positive about the Oncology Care Model is they are funding this practice transformation with these MEOS [Monthly Enhanced Oncology Services] payments. And we are using that money to try to change some of the infrastructure and workflows in our practice. But what’s nice is we’re not limiting those changes to the Medicare population. That spills over to all of our patients, because these are good advancements in patient care.
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