Panelists discuss the need for documenting a treatment plan early in patient care.
Joe Alvarnas, MD, asked Michael Kolodziej, MD, to provide insight on the importance of documenting the treatment plan for cancer patients, an objective of the Planning Actively for Cancer Treatment or PACT Act.
Kolodziej emphasized that documentation and processes of care, especially for emergency department visits and inpatient stay, are very important for both the patient and caregiver to understand how care will be managed. "As we think about healthcare reform, integrated delivery systems, and coordination of care, the communication between physicians is often poor," he said. "Some standard methodology for communicating information across the patient's multiple care management teams—and that is especially true in Medicare—becomes really, really vital to a good outcome."
Rebekkah Schear, MIA, agreed, adding that documenting the treatment plan creates functionality for patients, particularly post treatment. She added, that all providers, particularly the primary care providers, should be aware and integrate the patient’s current treatment with reference to what they have gone through for their cancer care. “That’s not just physically, but emotionally. The psychosocial perspective is critical,” said Schear.
Citing a survey conducted by LIVESTRONG in 2015 Schear said, "Only 29% of respondents to the survey—and these were all patients and survivors—noted that they even received a written summary of their cancer treatment. Further, only 17% noted that they had difficult care plans."
"Our data shows that patients will use care plans and treatment summaries to understand long-term effects of the treatment that they might experience and over 50% have told us that they use it to know what cancers they should be tested for moving forward," Schear added.