Revolutionizing Patient Care for Pancreatic Disorders
When Robbi Reynolds’ doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found a tumor in her pancreas — the likely cause of the stomach issues she’d been having for several months — they suggested surgery.
Robbi had one concern — no, it wasn’t the surgery; it was whether she would be healthy enough to get back to work in time to harvest the cranberries at her family’s cranberry bog in Rochester, Mass.
Robbi (right) also wondered about her quality of life.
“I’m only 39 and I wasn’t ready for this,” she recalls.
But the experts at the Pancreatic Cancer Center at BIDMC were ready for Robbi.
“Our team of physicians has dedicated their careers to treating people with pancreatic tumors,” says Dr. James Moser, Executive Director of the Institute for Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at BIDMC. “There aren’t many places patients can go for this level of expert care with such a focus on quality of life. This is a shared vision of what patient care should be.”
What sets BIDMC’s Pancreatic Cancer Center apart? For one, our multidisciplinary approach from diagnosis to treatment, to help give patients the best opportunity for a cure. World class surgeons like Dr. Jim Moser (right), Dr. Jennifer Tseng, and Dr. Tara Kent work side-by-side with colleagues from gastroenterology, medical oncology and radiation oncology.
Robbi’s care began with the Clinical Coordinator, Emily Lowery, an experienced nurse practitioner with an oncology background. Emily arranges for patients to meet with each member of their medical team on a single day at the hospital. Patients get an appointment the very same week they first contact BIDMC. To streamline the process, patients will also have any lab tests and X-rays completed at the hospital on that same day. Then, their medical team meets to discuss the findings and come up with a treatment plan.
“When our patients and their loved ones come to the Pancreatic Cancer Center, they get the unique experience of seeing all their providers on one day in a single visit,” says Lowery. “At the end of that visit, patients leave with a personalized care plan created by our team that is comprehensive and easy to understand.”
In addition, the entire medical team meets weekly on Monday afternoons to discuss any complicated cases and review the progress of their patients’ treatments.
“The gastroenterologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists and oncologists— we all sit together and discuss complicated cases to come up with both a firm diagnosis for the patient, and also a treatment and management plan that combines all these modalities together,” says Dr. Ram Chuttani (right), Director of Interventional Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in the Digestive Disease Center at BIDMC.
The information from the tests and weekly medical team meeting is used to create a CareMap, that is given by Emily to the patient and his or her PCP, explaining the diagnosis and plan for treatment. By streamlining the process, doctors hope to shorten diagnosis and treatment turnaround times and ease patients’ worries during a difficult time.
Dr. Rebecca Miksad, who leads the pancreatic cancer medical oncology group at BIDMC, has seen the process at work — turnaround time in some cases has gone from 49 days between the patients’ first contact to treatment down to 15 days.
“People with cancer want relief. They want certainty. We don’t leave any stone unturned,” stresses Dr. Moser. “That’s our window on advanced medicine. The patient will never be in a scenario where 21st century medicine is on the back burner, because someone with pancreatic cancer doesn’t come to the hospital wanting yesterday’s medicine. What they care about is beating their disease, and being at the forefront of surgery and new treatments for pancreatic cancer is our entire mission here.”
Robbi Reynolds’ medical team discussed her diagnosis and treatment in their weekly Monday meeting and decided to recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove her tumor. BIDMC’s surgeons are among a handful of surgeons in the world performing advanced minimally invasive pancreatic surgery. Reynolds’ was out of the hospital in five days and back in the bog harvesting cranberries just five weeks later.
“I feel excellent. I’m so fortunate they found the tumor when they did. It’s changed everything for me,” says Reynolds. “I’ve already recommended the Pancreatic Cancer Center at BIDMC to my friends. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
Posted January 2014