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Two-thirds of newly diagnosed cancer patients unable to obtain oncology appointments
Date:6/1/2011

le to reach appropriate schedulers (24 percent), and referral requirements (18 percent).

The authors note that the access problems revealed in the study may become more urgent in the coming years, given Institute of Medicine and ASCO projections showing a widening gap between the number of people living with cancer and the number of practicing oncologists available to care for them.

Gogineni and her co-author, Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE, chief of the division of General Internal Medicine and associate director of Outcomes and Delivery in the Abramson Cancer Center, suggest that more patient navigator programs could play a critical role at coaching patients through this initial phase of their care. Since literacy issues or lack of guidance from a referring physician may impede patients' ability to locate the proper number to call for help at some hospitals, they also urge centers to train staff at locations other than appointment hotlines or intake centers to point new patients to the proper location.

"Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer may be confused or frightened," Armstrong says. "Asking them to find their way through the complex process of obtaining imaging studies and other tests or collecting records from another doctor prior to scheduling an appointment may pose an undue burden, and cancer centers should be prepared to provide help with those preliminary steps."

Gogineni will present these findings during the Health Services Research General Poster Session from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST on Saturday, June 4 in McCormick Place Hall A.


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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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