Oncology itself has largely shifted to ambulatory settings—simultaneously increasing the volume of same-day urgent visits for treatment-related side effects, according to a new article in HemOnc Today. Utilizing the skills of nurse practitioners and physician assistants (known collectively as advanced-practice providers, or APPs) has been shown to keep costs down while also allowing greater, faster access for patients with cancer by giving them another option besides the ED—just as urgent care does for all manner of patients already. The authors of the HemOnc Today article compared baseline data related to ED visits by cancer patients, including what proportion of those visits resulted in hospital admissions, with care provided by APPs in an urgent care center. Through March of this year, 69% of 5,584 patients who were seen in the urgent care scenario over a 2-year period were discharged home; the rest were ultimately admitted to the hospital. However, over a representative 5-month period, 90% of 391 oncology patients who presented to the ED were admitted. “APP urgent care has provided our patients with the opportunity to access urgent care outside of the ED, leading to reduction in hospital admissions and enhanced patient experience and overall satisfaction,” the authors wrote. The general concept that urgent care centers can offer essential care to patients who have cancer is not new to JUCM readers. New Urgent Care Models Help Cancer Patients explored the idea from a practice management perspective, while An Urgent Care Approach to Malignancy Complications dealt with issues clinicians are likely to see when cancer patients present.
Can Urgent Care APPs Help Boost Cancer Patient Satisfaction and Keep Them Out of the ED?