How We Reduced Time-to-Treatment by A Third

Our process and results

The time between a cancer diagnosis and the initiation of treatment can be lonely and anxious for patients. Shortening this critical interval is a complicated logistical problem, but benefits patients medically and psychologically, thereby improving outcomes and adding value.

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“In addition to its impact on outcomes, delayed time-to-treatment [TTT] can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for patients,” says Brian Bolwell, MD, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center. “Coordinating care is difficult, particularly in academic cancer centers, but once you take the time to identify all the hurdles and address each of them, progress in TTT is achievable.”

Cleveland Clinic cancer programs have made reducing TTT for cancer patients a priority, an effort that began four years ago. A recent article in NEJM Catalyst coauthored by Dr. Bolwell and Alok A. Khorana, MD, details the approach that reduced TTT 33 percent overall, to 26 days. The goal is less than 20 days.

“Physicians need to commit to multidisciplinary care and form integrated practice units that focus on patients,” says Dr. Khorana, Director of Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Program. “TTT needs to be measured and emphasized, and we must understand what is important to each individual patient and not assume we already know.”

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Check out a summary of the results below and read the full article here.