This is the second part of my series on the three categories of reports cancer centers should review on a monthly basis. The first post in the series focused on accreditation reporting and provided links to the standards to meet for five of the most important cancer center accreditations. The final post in this series will review the financial reports every center should review.
The focus of this post is the second category of reports for cancer centers: operational. Perhaps the biggest difference between accreditation reports and operational reports is that each cancer center can choose which operational metrics to review, while accreditation reports are determined by the accrediting bodies. Because there is choice involved in this category, and innumerable possible metrics to choose from, I think it is helpful to take a look at the common operational reports that Cordata Oncology clients monitor.
Part 2: Operational
Operational data can be tedious to gather and, for the most part, does not yield immediate results; many of these metrics need to be tracked for at least six months to provide an accurate picture of a cancer center’s operations. In my experience, many cancer centers only gather operational reports in reaction to something negative occurring at the facility, such as budget cuts or a reduction in staffing. If the metrics were gathered proactively, they could be used to benchmark the facility nationally and resolve issues before they become problems.
As patient populations grow with the Affordable Care Act, it will be crucial to understand and modify staffing levels in all areas of healthcare. In patient navigation, where staffing needs tend to be underestimated, operational reports and benchmarking will gain importance.
The following metrics should be tracked:
1. Navigator to patient ratios, sorted by:
- Patient tumor site
- Patient status
- a. Newly diagnosed
- b. In Treatment (Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Surgery)
- c. Survivorship
- Patient stage (I, II, III, IV, V, VI)
2. Navigator time spent, sorted by:
- a. Monthly
- b. Yearly
- c. Over complete treatment
- Direct patient content
- Communication to physicians
3. Lag times
- Screening to diagnosis
- Diagnosis to first consultation
- Diagnosis to first treatment
- First consultation to first treatment
- Completion of acute treatment to survivorship appointment
Cancer centers that utilize Oncology OnTrack are able to record and analyze data more efficiently as part of their daily workflow. Reports are more easily created, without adding to the patient navigator’s already stressed workload. The Oncology OnTrack team is able to run these reports for our clients, allowing patient navigators to spend more time on patient care and less time on data management.
Please contact me if you would like to talk about making data gathering and analytics more manageable for your facility. I would be happy to share sample reports with you and discuss your reporting needs.