I have never been a big fan of survivorship care plans. Research has confirmed my suspicion that they have little impact on the care or quality of life of cancer survivors. I was frankly delighted to see that the Commission on Cancer (CoC) has also recognized the limitations of handing patients and primary care docs a summary of cancer care and recommendations for follow-up. The 2020 Survivorship Care standard that must be met by over 1,500 hospitals that have CoC certification now requires the survivorship care team to choose at least three services (offered on-site or by referral) as a focus. In their annual report, the team needs to document the number of patients served, and identify resources needed to improve the services if barriers were encountered. A survivorship team is expected to enhance or add new services each year. Providing survivorship care plans can be counted as one type of service for a defined population of patients. Given Will2Love’s mission of optimizing care for reproductive health after cancer, I was especially happy to see among the target services formalized referrals to experts in sexual dysfunction or fertility counseling.
One problem for cancer centers is that survivorship care can be a financial drain. Typically an advanced practitioner sees cancer survivors for one visit each year. This visit is not all that profitable, especially with the added cost of creating a survivorship care plan. However, having a survivorship program opens up more outpatient clinic appointments for newly diagnosed patients, which yield more lucrative, procedure-rich billings. (Yes, if you are a patient reading this, I know it sounds cold-hearted, but even nonprofit hospitals have to break even.)
Will2Love offers a low-cost way to offer new or enhanced services for sexual dysfunction or fertility counseling that can generate revenue as well as data that will easily satisfy annual reporting needs. How do we do that? We offer a yearly contract at a very reasonable price that includes our Reproductive Health Clinic in a Box:
- Subsidized 6-month subscriptions for a specified number of patients and partners to our online, evidence-based men’s and women’s self-help programs covering sexuality and fertility across cancer sites. Three clinical trials have shown that users have significantly improved sexual function and satisfaction.
- Access for a specified number of hospital clinicians to our PRO Portal offering training in communication skills on reproductive health, a complete clinician’s manual to using our self-help programs with patients, outlines of assessment interviews, and treatment algorithms for specific problems (including 9 pre-recorded webinars with handouts).
- Expert consulting on how to structure a reproductive health program in an oncology setting, and if desired, supervision of clinicians by videoconference
Our websites and communications are fully compliant with HIPAA privacy and security standards. We do not sell data to any third party.
For a survivorship program, our workflow includes asking one screening question at the yearly visit to identify concerns about sexuality or fertility. If the patient has a problem, he or she is offered a brochure with a registration code to set up a free subscription to the men’s or women’s online program. At the same time, the patient is offered a referral to a special assessment visit. This is a billable visit with a clinician trained with Will2Love’s PRO Portal and supervision. If the clinician is an advanced practitioner, the revenue from billings is maximized, especially since the visit can include a brief physical exam and lab tests. Often the visit will result in referrals for specialized care, including gynecological or urological services, pelvic rehabilitation physical therapy, sex therapy, and/or fertility counseling. For larger cancer centers who have these specialty clinicians on staff, referrals generate even more revenue, far offsetting the cost of the Will2Love contract. This workflow also decreases extra unbillable time spent by the survivorship team member in assessing the patient’s problem or providing brief counseling. Although some oncology health professionals are quite expert in providing care for sexual or fertility concerns, many others lack motivation or skills.
In terms of reporting, Will2Love can help a hospital monitor how many patients were offered the self-help programs, how many set up accounts, and their usage of the program over the 6 months. Numbers of special assessment visits and referrals for further care are also easy to document with an electronic health record. We can also help your program conduct IRB-approved outcome studies with questionnaires. Will2Love is proud to announce that we are a 2019 winner of the Astellas C3 Innovations Prize for improving nonmedical cancer care!
This educational material is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace, or substitute for, professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read in this educational material.
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