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Physician Develops Program for Cancer Patients
Because lung cancer doesn’t get the attention of some other types of cancer, many people may not realize it is the largest cancer killer in the U.S. Dr. Burnett developed the Cardiothoracic Oncology Program at St. Joseph and initiated weekly conferences for patients undergoing treatment for chest tumors. Physicians from several specialties are on the team, including the thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, radiologist, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, pulmonary and thoracic surgery advanced nurse practitioners, and primary care.
Each specialist in conference examines the case and makes recommendations. The conference streamlines patient care because all the physicians are working together on the treatment plan and patients don’t have to make separate appointments with each specialty.
“I think it is a great comfort to patients,” says Dr. Burnett, “and it’s very cost effective. This model has worked well in other hospitals. The average time from when a nodule is first noticed until treatment begins is 55 days. When this model is used, we can get that gap down to 14-17 days. It’s a big payoff with a relatively small investment from physicians. Patients and families are thrilled to get up to date academic center treatment in a community care facility.”