The Importance of a Patient-Centric Approach
At American Oncology Network (AON), we encourage our practices to adopt a patient-centric approach and deliver exceptional care with compassion and kindness. It’s a method of care delivery that supports the value-based care model, which has revolutionized healthcare by rewarding providers based on their delivery of the highest quality patient care.
One of our practices, Oncology Hematology Associates (OHA), located in Springfield, Missouri, has long embodied this approach by embracing patient-centered care. By placing its patients first, OHA continuously earns high patient satisfaction scores of 96.1% and above.
Treating the Whole Person — and Their Family
As part of our patient-centered approach, AON practices embrace the Whole-Person Care model, which is defined as taking care of a patient’s mental and spiritual health as well as treating them physically. At OHA, whole-person care permeates every aspect of care management, including financial burdens. Battling cancer is stressful enough without patients having to concern themselves with how they are going to pay for treatment. That’s why OHA helps its patients connect with local organizations that provide financial assistance ranging from utility bills and groceries to mortgage payments and even affordable housing. Alleviating a patient of some of their financial burdens can be a great boost to their physical and mental health.
The practice also offers nutritional assistance for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments by recommending which foods to eat and which they should avoid when it comes to managing side effects. OHA also works with a local organization that supplies mental and spiritual support to those recently diagnosed with cancer.
Understanding that caregiver fatigue is a very real, very serious issue, OHA includes members of a patient’s support team when it comes to nurturing mental and spiritual health. Its infusion centers are open to a patient’s caregivers, friends and family, allowing our nurses to interact and bond with whomever accompanies the patients to their treatments.
Building Relationships with Patients
One of the many benefits of a community oncology practice is that patients often see the same physicians, nurses and other clinical team members during their visits, which leads to meaningful relationships built on trust. OHA focuses on establishing these relationships when a patient walks into the practice for the first time — regardless of where they are in their diagnosis.
Cancer patients are taking a journey, and OHA employees will be there to support them every step of the way. Because OHA’s clinics offer a variety of services, patients do not need to go anywhere else for blood work or infusions, which allows them to become more comfortable each time they walk into the office and interact with our staff. OHA wants its patients to feel like they’re visiting family — not just physicians and nurses. Part of that is encouraging patients to reach out anytime. For example, our nurse practitioners are standing by and ready to assist any patient suffering through uncomfortable side effects from treatment by sharing tips on managing symptoms and offering up a library of educational collateral to share.
Strength in Numbers
Joining a national network such as AON can supply local, independent practices with the structure and resources they need to enhance a patient-centric approach to oncology care — which is the backbone of community-based care.
For those who work at OHA and in other practices across AON, oncology is more than just a job — it has become a very important part of their lives. They love the bonds they get to forge with their patients and are proud to be a part of their journey, regardless of where or how that journey ends.
Regional Director of Operations
Beth Gann is a Regional Director of Operations for AON and
former Administrator of Oncology Hematology Associates.