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Systems of Care Delivering for UH Seidman Patients

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UH Clinical Update | December 2023

Leaders at University Hospitals have been speaking for many months about the new Systems of Care operating model. Key features of the new approach include volume centers for consolidating and boosting quality for like procedures across the system and a “rationalized” physical footprint of facilities. This model, they say, will help UH provide the highest-quality care, lower our costs, maximize our efficiency and help us meet market demand locally – where people live, work and shop. This, in turn, will help UH compete on value and provide the people under our care with an enhanced patient experience.

How is it working in real life? Results from UH Seidman Cancer Center suggest this new approach is paying off – especially for patients.

“At UH Seidman Cancer Center, we have 17 sites of care across Northeast Ohio, and we deliver exceptional care at all those 17 sites,” says Ted Teknos, MD, President and Scientific Director, UH Seidman Cancer Center, and Jane and Lee Seidman Chair in Cancer Innovation. “But what we've decided to do as part of Systems of Care is really focus on our high-volume sites and create hubs.”

UH Seidman hubs include the location at main campus, as well as UH Minoff and UH Avon health centers.

“That’s where we deliver our most complex care – both chemotherapy and radiation, as well as clinical trials,” Dr. Teknos says. “Of course, that doesn't mean that individuals can't get outstanding care at their local cancer centers. However, these are the areas where the most complex patients will be treated, and we’re delivering care there in a remarkable manner.”

Clinical trials impact: As a result of this re-organization, the number of participants in UH Seidman’s clinical trials is on the rise. Participation in smaller-scale trials at community sites has increased by 12% over the same metric in 2022. At the same time, participation in rigorous trials of new drugs or therapies, conducted at the three hubs, is up by a whopping 24%, Dr. Teknos says, offering hope to more patients who have particularly challenging cancers.

Dr. Teknos notes that these ramped-up clinical trials are also generating more indirect costs from their funding mechanisms. This, he says, bolsters UH Seidman’s research infrastructure – creating the conditions for even more clinical trials to serve the cancer patients who depend on them.

“When you look at the top five departments for research indirects at UH between 2019 and 2023, we at UH Seidman have had a nearly 50% increase,” he says. “That's primarily through growth of our clinical trial portfolio and external grant funding. It’s clear our strategy is working not only for optimal clinical care, but for our research infrastructure as well.”

Catching cancer early: The Systems of Care approach is also yielding other benefits for patients – especially when it comes to early detection of cancer. The UH Seidman lung cancer screening program, for example, has reached more than 17% of UH patients who are smokers or former smokers – compared with a national average of 7%.

“As a result of this, we’ve begun to diagnose these cancer at a much earlier stage and patients are surviving at a much higher rate,” Dr. Teknos says. “Back in 2017, we were diagnosing early-stage cancer at a rate of 27%, and now we’re diagnosing them at a rate of 46% in 2023. That’s a dramatic change, and it shows the power of a Systems of Care implementation across the enterprise to solve a very specific problem.”

Dr. Teknos says he’s excited about what more lies ahead with Systems of Care.

“We’ve really begun to move the needle,” he says. “Clinical trials have really accelerated, and we’ve managed costs significantly. Importantly, this model is also allowing us to implement creative programs. This enables us to innovate into the foreseeable future, not just in cancer, but in all of our systems.”

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