Wesley Medical Center Growing Oncology Services

By: Jeanie Erwin
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Specialty: 

Identifying future medical needs of the community and making it a singular mission to meet those needs has been the driving force behind Wesley Medical Center for more than 100 years. This spirit of forward-thinking care is at the heart of its current effort to grow its oncology program to meet Increasing demand for cancer services in Wichita and throughout Kansas and Northern Oklahoma.

According to The State of Cancer Care in America: 2014, a report released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, advances in cancer treatment, screening and prevention have resulted in a significant decline in cancer deaths in recent decades, with more than 13.7 million cancer survivors living in the United States. However, due to an aging population as well as a number of lifestyle factors, the number of new cancer cases in the United States is expected to increase by as much as 42 percent by 2025.

Despite the expected dramatic rise in demand for cancer care, patients nationwide will likely face obstacles to obtaining care. Practices across the United States are failing under economic pressure, and the number of oncologists is not expected to grow proportionately to meet the need, leaving many patients struggling to find care. These are some of the challenges Wesley seeks to overcome for its patient population through the development of several valuable programs.

“We see 1,300 new cases at this hospital each year and wanted to provide the care our patients deserve — which is the best care possible,” Casey Guber, Chief Operating Officer at Wesley Medical Center, says of the reason behind these most recent efforts.

Always Reaching Higher

Taking on the complexities of improving cancer care is no small challenge but is one the team at Wesley is willing to meet head-on.

“Our goal is to improve cancer care in the community,” explains Phu Truong, MD, Medical Director of Wesley’s oncology program. “To affirm this commitment, Wesley is taking proactive steps to achieve and maintain Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation. This program challenges facilities in things such as building a strong infrastructure, developing early detection programs and supporting patients with an interdisciplinary team.”

Wesley has always prided itself on delivering the best patient care possible, and seeking accreditation is one way Wesley is staying ahead of the curve and ensuring its patients receive timely, comprehensive care that utilizes the latest techniques and technologies.

Wesley has backed that commitment in some very significant ways, such as investing in state-of-the-art equipment like the Varian Edge Radiosurgery System, as well as the da Vinci Xi Surgical System.

The Varian Edge uses a noninvasive beam to ablate tumors, including deep-seated tumors in the brain and spine, with sub-millimeter, end-to-end surgical precision.

Wesley Navigator With Patient 250
Chelsea Simpson, RN, oncology nurse navigator, visits with a patient.

The radiation oncology space housing the equipment has also been remodeled to enhance patient comfort as well as efficiency.

“It is a wonderful and beautiful space, and one that aids in the best clinical care possible,” Guber adds.

The da Vinci Xi, the latest from Intuitive Surgical, has more capabilities than its predecessor and has features including smaller, thinner arms, a new overhead instrument arm architecture designed to facilitate anatomical access from virtually any position, and longer instrument shafts designed to give surgeons greater operative reach, making it well-suited for complex cancers, such as colorectal cancer.

Physician Collaboration in Cancer Care Leading Wesley Forward

Collaborative efforts in the healthcare setting can lead to innovative approaches to difficult problems, new processes to accomplish key tasks and shared insights that improve patient outcomes. Effective communication is a critical factor in successful health system performance, and fostering that communication is an integral part of the way Wesley Medical Center is elevating cancer care.

Guber explains the heart of Wesley’s collaboration program: “What we’ve done well is listen to the physician community as well as the patient population and let their insights drive the organization. Through this effort, we have tailored an interdisciplinary program that empowers both the physician and the patient.”

Wesley Oncology Team 750
From left, the oncology team at Wesley Medical Center includes, among many others, Jacqueline Morgan, MD, gynecological oncology; Chelsea Simpson, RN, oncology nurse navigator; Phu Truong, MD, medical oncology; Jed Delmore, MD, gynecological oncology; and Ellen Cooke, MD, radiation oncology.

Led by Wesley Medical Director Dr. Truong, the team approach includes physicians from an array of specialties, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, gynecological oncology, cardiothoracics, colorectal, general surgery and many others.

“The multidisciplinary cancer care team meets twice a month to discuss the best ways to meet patient needs,” Dr. Truong says. “It is a way to enhance communication and improve the quality of care.”

Dr. Truong is also Chair of Wesley’s cancer steering committee, and he says consistent, open communication is a key element in moving the organization forward toward CoC accreditation.

“There are lots of requirements, and achieving the objectives requires a high degree of communication and idea sharing to identify gaps and maximize efforts,” he says. “The cancer committee leads the program through setting goals, monitoring activities and outcomes, and identifying new ways to improve care. The team at Wesley is very committed to this process.”

New Services Aid Better Outcomes

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, accounting for more deaths than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. It was estimated that 221,200 new cases of lung cancer would be diagnosed and more than 158,000 deaths would occur from lung cancer in the United States in 2015. Research shows early detection aids in the ability to provide a wider range of successful treatment options. To address these issues, Wesley has implemented new lung cancer services including lung CT screenings, a lung incidental finding program and lung cancer patient navigators to help patients through the process.

“Early detection of lung cancer saves lives,” says Cheryl Bolton, Wesley Oncology Service Line Director. “The results of the U.S. National Lung Screening Trial show a 20 percent reduction in mortality thanks to CT screening.”

Wesley’s lung cancer CT screening was developed in response to findings that annual low-dose CT scans reduce the risk of dying from lung cancer by up to 20 percent.

“If a patient comes in for something else and a lung nodule is found, the patient is entered into a lung screening database to ensure the proper follow-up care,” Bolton says. “Then, a nurse navigator helps the patient through the process, offering support and assistance in answering questions, managing appointments and connecting to education programs.”

As the new programs continue to gain strength, the team at Wesley sees it as just another step in the organization’s longstanding vision to benefit the quality of life within the community. Generations of families have put their trust in Wesley Medical Center, and Wesley will continue to honor that trust through innovative care.

Wesley Team Komen Race 750
Wesley’s team for the Komen Race for the Cure had more than 200 participants.

For more information about the Varian Edge or Wesley’s comprehensive oncology services, please contact Physician Relations Manager Brett McMahon at 316-962-2161 or brett.mcmahon@wesleymc.com.