Integrating Regional and Community Lung Cancer Services to Improve Patient Care

Max Dahele, Yee Ung, Jacinta Meharchand, Harry Shulman, Robert Zeldin, Abdollah Behzadi, Carmine Simone, Susanna Cheng, Corey Weigensberg, Khalil Sivjee


Background: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada. The organisation of healthcare services is central to the delivery of accessible, high-quality medical care and may be one factor that influences patient outcome.

Purpose: An exciting opportunity arose for clinicians to initiate the redesign of lung cancer services provided by 3 institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. This qualitative report describes the integrated lung cancer network that they developed, the innovation it has facilitated and the systematic approach being taken to evaluate its impact.

Method: Available clinical resources were deployed to restructure services along patient-centred lines and provide greater access to the specialist lung cancer team.

Results: A non-hierarchical clinical network has been established which consolidates the lung cancer team. A multi-institutional and multidisciplinary tumor board and comprehensive thoracic oncology clinics are at its core.

Discussion: This innovative organisational paradigm considers all of the available services at each facility and aims to fully integrate specialists across the 3 institutions, thereby maximizing resource utilization. We believe it may have wider applicability. The network is currently working to (1) complete a current program of further service improvements and (2) objectively assess its impact on patient outcome.

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)