Emory’s Winship Joins AccessHope as Collaboration Partner

Evidence-Based OncologyFebruary 2022
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages: SP74

AccessHope is a program that allows patients and community oncologists to tap into the expertise of City of Hope, often through electronic sharing of records so the patient does not have to travel.

AccessHope has added a fourth partner to its group of National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated cancer centers that will collaborate in offering remote delivery of expertise to members of employer health plans.
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, will serve members of AccessHope employer health plans in southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Winship joins City of Hope in Duarte, California; the Robert Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois; and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, in offering the core services of AccessHope: accountable precision oncology, expert advisory review, and cancer support teams.1 AccessHope is a program that allows patients and community oncologists to tap into the expertise of City of Hope, often through electronic sharing of records so the patient does not have to travel.

“[Patients] deserve access to the latest cancer care knowledge, regardless of their geographic location. The ability to remotely access health information has become increasingly important for the patient experience, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when [the] ability or willingness to travel for cancer care may have been impacted,” Mark Stadler, CEO of AccessHope, said in a joint statement from AccessHope and Emory Healthcare.2

“As we continue connecting plan members and their local treating oncologists with these world-renowned specialists who can review their cases, our primary goal is to share insights they can use to optimize cancer treatment plans and improve clinical outcomes,” Stadler said.

Emory Healthcare, with 24,000 employees, 11 hospital campuses, and more than 3300 physicians across more than 70 specialties, operates across Georgia in 250 locations.

“Patients are at the center of everything we do, and our mission is to improve lives and provide hope,” Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, executive vice president for health affairs of Emory University and CEO of Emory Healthcare, said in the statement. “Through innovation and discovery, our clinicians and cancer specialists are focused on advancing medical research and progressive cancer treatments that will benefit those who [receive a cancer diagnosis], and we are pleased to collaborate with AccessHope to provide further access to patients in need of cancer expertise.”

Winship is Georgia’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center; it is ranked in the top 50 in the United States and first in Georgia for cancer care, according to US News & World Report. Winship clinicians see more than 17,000 patients with new diagnoses each year. Construction is underway on a 17-story cancer facility, representing the largest expansion in Winship’s history.

In the research realm, investigators enrolled more than 900 participants in more than 300 clinical trials in 2020, the same year Winship received $80 million in research funding. As is the case elsewhere, Winship is seeing more patients with later-stage cancers.

“Winship oncologists are seeing a recent trend of more patients coming through our doors with advanced or later-stage cancers, which likely progressed from delayed screenings or treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sagar Lonial, MD, FACP, chief medical officer of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. “Through our new collaboration with AccessHope, Winship clinicians will provide valuable medical expertise for patients with complex cancers, including our multidisciplinary teams that care for head and neck, lung, prostate and breast cancers, as well as the rapidly changing field of blood cancers. Those experts can then provide recommendations to local oncologists so individuals receive state-of-the-art care as quickly as possible.”

A survey by the American Hospital Association ranked Emory Healthcare as one of the top 10 most-trusted health care brands in the United States and the top health care system in Georgia.4 Consumers who were surveyed reported that 3 strategies were paramount to boost trust: being transparent and clear with information, listening and being empathetic, and offering care and treatment choices to patients.

“Improving access, increasing options, and expanding health literacy can go a long way in addressing critical issues in health care such as health disparities, trust in health care and health care providers, and patients proactively seeking out specialized medical care. AccessHope’s unique approach in connecting people with cancer expertise, regardless of their geographic location, was a natural fit for Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute, where patients come first,” says Dane Peterson, president and chief operating officer of Emory Healthcare, said in the statement.

Results of a recent study published in JCO Oncology Practice found that AccessHope clinicians’ expertise influences the course of care in lung cancer cases. NCI-level subspecialists who provided evidence-based recommendations through the program influenced 93% of the cases AccessHope received, the results showed. Accompanying the clinical and humanistic benefits was an average of $19,000 in cost savings per plan member.4

AccessHope serves approximately 3.3 million plan members who have access to its cancer support services through 75 employers and collaborative relationships with Collective Health via its Premier Partner Program and with Health Transformation Alliance and Quantum Health. 

1. Caffrey M, Levine H. Reimaging cancer care delivery—and serving employers—through AccessHope. Am J Manag Care. 2020;26(SP10):SP365-SP366. doi:10.37765/ajmc.2020.88558
2. AccessHope and Emory Healthcare announce collaboration extending cancer expertise to southeastern United States and beyond. News release. AccessHope. January 11, 2022. Accessed January 17, 2022. https://bwnews.pr/3KkmlDF
3. Emory Healthcare named most trusted health system brand. News release. Emory University. November 22, 2021. Accessed January 17, 2022. https://news.emory.edu/stories/2021/11/ehc_named_most_trusted_health_system_brand/index.html
4. West HJ, Tan YA, Barzi A, Wong D, Parsley R, Sachs T. Novel program offering remote, asynchronous subspecialist input in thoracic oncology: early experience during a pandemic. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online December 3, 2021. doi:10.1200/OP.21.00339

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