During the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Care Symposium, in Boston, health provider Kaiser Permanente Southern California announced its focus in reducing the number of colorectal cancer-related deaths by half, until 2023.
In order to achieve that significant reduction, the organization is going to focus on entire continuum of care, including prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. Currently, one in every three adults do not get screened appropriately, even though colorectal cancer can be successfully treated upon early detection.
Kaiser Permanente has given itself a nine-year limit to reduce the number of deaths caused by the second deadliest cancer in the United States: from 13.8 deaths/100,000 to 6.9 deaths/100,000. The health care provider serves 3.7 million diverse members and has a five-year colon cancer survival rate of 75%, which is 10% higher than the U.S. average.
“Setting this bold goal is really unprecedented, but we are in a unique position to be able to achieve it,” Michael Kanter, MD, medical director of quality and clinical analysis, at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, said in a press release. “We’re already consistently engaging in successful practices and using effective tools that will help us accomplish our mission.”
One of the tools that the organization will use includes its electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, in addition to their “Proactive Office Encounters” care management approach, part of the Complete Care model dedicated to integrated and individual care. The organization has also been dedicated to follow-up and health maintenance, as well as working according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations.
In addition, Kaiser Permanente Southern California has increased colon cancer screenings among their patients, specially the ones with chronic conditions, and by the end of last year, they had already succeeded in increasing screening rates in 83 percent. The organization believes that this change is related to its regional outreach fecal immunochemical (FIT) test program, a stool test that can be conducted comfortably at a patients’ house.
“Kaiser Permanente is a leader in the fight against colorectal cancer. We will meet our goal by optimizing treatment protocols and providing evidence-based, highly effective cancer care” Joanne Schottinger, MD, colorectal cancer care provider and oncologist from Kaiser Permanente Southern California, added in the press release. “We want to help patients get and stay healthy.”
This year, the health care organization has expanded its safety net program designed to improve early detection in patients with signs of rectal bleeding or suspects of iron deficiency anemia, by recommending this population to undergo a colonoscopy.
Furthermore, Kaiser Permanente assigned a multi-disciplinary team of physicians to review data on colon cancer patients who died of advanced disease, in order to identify new opportunities for more appropriate and coordinated care.