Personalizing the patient experience

When patients first learn they have cancer, they understandably have many concerns and questions. To help them become comfortable with the treatment process, the outpatient center at The University’s Kansas Cancer Center’s Westwood Campus is launching a one-of-a-kind program to provide personalized patient guides for each new patient.

No other cancer program in the country offers such a service. This unique program was piloted with patients with head and neck cancer, and is rolling out this summer.

As soon as patients’ first appointment is scheduled, they will receive a Patient Appointment Guide in the mail. The guide includes appointment information; directions to the Westwood Campus; photographs of the facility, their physician, navigator and other staff members; and contact information.

“Patients’ responses have been very favorable to the appointment guides,” said Teri Banman, R.N., KU Cancer Center lead navigator. “They appreciate knowing what to expect before they ever step foot in the cancer center.”

Over the next year, the program will expand to include an individualized Treatment Guide. This tool will detail the patient’s treatment plan, including details about the diagnosis, specifics about each treatment the patient will receive, treatment side effects, a comprehensive list of resources and success stories from patients with the same type of cancer. Patients will also be able to access information via a web portal. Plans are to launch the personalized service at the community cancer centers later this year.

“With these new tools, we can provide patient education and navigation from the first appointment through survivorship,” said Terry Tsue, M.D., physician-in-chief for the KU Cancer Center. “The guides and portal will help answer patients’ questions in real time and help navigators track patients’ progress.”

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