SPOTLIGHT: Collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Network®

Premier Pulse     March 2022

As Southwest Ohio’s only certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center, the top-ranked cancer center in the United States, Premier Health sees great value in offering high-quality cancer care close to home.

Over the past six years of fostering this partnership with MD Anderson, Premier Health’s growing list of cancer specialists who have undergone the rigorous process of becoming certified with the network demonstrates an ongoing commitment to improve the likelihood of positive outcomes for patients and their loved ones.

MD Anderson is one of the nation’s original comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute to help pioneer the guidelines that set the standard of cancer care today. In partnering with MD Anderson Cancer Network, Premier Health cancer specialists are able to provide cancer treatment, prevention, early detection, and follow-up care as developed by a world-renowned cancer center. Premier Health physicians work closely with MD Anderson cancer specialists in Houston to follow nationally recognized cancer care protocols and develop individual treatment plans for patients in an effort to keep them close to home.

Premier Health’s webpage for cancer care now features videos of physicians who are certified with MD Anderson Cancer Network sharing insight into what it means to be a certified physician as well as describing the value of this partnership for the community. These videos highlight how Premier Health’s collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Network gives physicians access to the latest evidence-based protocols for cancer treatment, provides them with input from experienced specialists on rare and complex cases, enables peer-to-peer chart reviews to ensure certified physicians’ pathways of care and documentation meet optimal standards and guidelines, and offers consultations with MD Anderson Cancer Network tumor boards as well as access to clinical trials and research.

“To me, (the partnership) ensures my quality of care for my cancer patients is what it should be,” says hematologist/oncologist Tarek Sabagh, MD, in one of the videos.

In another video, surgical oncologist James Ouellette, DO, who serves as clinical director of Premier Health’s oncology service line, discusses the benefit of participating in MD Anderson Cancer Network’s weekly tumor boards. “Just like our tumor boards that we have every week, there's also an MD Anderson Cancer Network tumor board,” says Dr. Ouellette. “We can submit our cases from our own tumor boards or things we haven't even had a chance to discuss, so that we get some input from experts throughout the network.”

Radiation oncologist Ryan Steinmetz, MD, says Premier Health’s collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Network brings prestige to the health system, especially regarding diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers. “I can reassure (the patient) that I'm going to call these experts and discuss what I have planned for the patient and see if they would make any modifications,” he says.

MD Anderson Cancer Network also takes an active role in ensuring that Premier Health’s certified physicians are providing the highest standard of cancer care.

“MD Anderson continually reviews our radiation plans and critiques them to make sure that the actual plan for the patient is satisfactory,” says Dr. Steinmetz

Dr. Sabagh also discusses the importance of MD Anderson’s peer review process and high standards for cancer care. “You have somebody looking at your quality, and you get notification periodically that your certification is ongoing based on checking your quality,” he says. “They tell us the guidelines, but also they add on top of that their personal experience and what they have seen in their own practice. It's not just, ‘Here’s what the book says.’”

Premier Health has an extensive network of physicians certified with MD Anderson Cancer Network who can diagnose and treat a wide variety of cancers in the areas of:

  • Breast Surgical Oncology
  • General Surgery
  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Head and Neck Oncology
  • Hematology Oncology
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Urology

More information about Premier Health’s collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Network can be found online. You can also meet the physicians who are certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network and view the videos referenced above.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

One of the best defenses against cancer is catching it early. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic delaying routine cancer screenings in its early months, as well as patients avoiding public exposure to the disease, Premier Health’s cancer prevention team has sought out solutions to make screenings more accessible. One option is the Polymedco Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), which screens for blood in the stool, as well as markers that come off of tumors or advanced polyps.

This at-home test requires submitting a stool sample for lab analysis. If anything unusual is found, the patient will need a follow-up colonoscopy, which is still considered the most effective screening tool for colorectal cancer. The value of the FIT is to provide a screening alternative for patients who do not have an elevated risk of colon cancer, such as family history; are not exhibiting any symptoms; are reluctant to undergo a colonoscopy; or prefer to not visit a health care facility during the pandemic. Cancer Prevention Program | Premier Health

Back to the March 2022 issue of Premier Pulse

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