Collaborative Model Succeeds in Reducing Cancer Patient Readmissions

Oncologists and palliative care specialists at Duke University Hospital worked together in patient care, resulting in a 23% reduction in patient readmission within a week of discharge.

Doctors at Duke University Hospital have developed a new collaborative model in cancer care that reduced the rates at which patients were sent to intensive care or readmitted to the hospital after discharge.

The Duke researchers shared their findings at the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

In the new treatment model, medical oncologists and palliative care physicians partnered in a "co-rounding" format to deliver cancer care for patients admitted to Duke University Hospital's solid tumor unit. The Duke model fostered collaboration and communication between the specialists, who met several times a day to discuss patient care.

"The integration of palliative care, as a necessary and essential component of cancer care, is one that has been increasingly endorsed," said Richard Riedel, M.D., lead author of the Duke study and medical director of Duke University Hospital's solid tumor inpatient service. "The benefits of palliative care have been shown in the outpatient and consultative settings, but we didn't know its impact on daily inpatient care. Now, we have successfully partnered with our palliative care colleagues to bring their unique skill sets and expertise directly to our admitted patients, and have shown it to be beneficial."

Reported in ScienceDaily: