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Providers Working Together: Specialists Partnering with Community Oncologists

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Published on October 1, 2014

How do you find an MPN specialist? What if you live far away from a specialist? Dr. David Snyder from City of Hope and Dr. Bart Scott from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance discuss how specialists can work closely with your community oncologist.  Once you’ve met with a specialist, your local physician can work closely with their team to make sure you have access to the latest treatment and clinical trials and ensure you’re getting the best care. 

This event was produced in association with City of Hope and sponsored by Patient Empowerment Network through educational grants from Incyte Corporation and Geron Corporation.

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Transcript | Providers Working Together: Specialists Partnering with Community Oncologists

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Dr. Scott:

And, as I said before in an earlier session I think, it would behoove all patients with these rare disorders to be seen by a specialist at least once who can kind of like follow you from afar.

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. Dr. Snyder, how’s that work? So, let’s say somebody goes to Orange County Oncology, and they’re seeing a more general hematologist oncologist. And they want to get you involved in their care, but they live, you know, next door there. How can you be a consultant to that community doctor so that, if things are going on, you know, Mike for 19 years or whatever, you’re involved? You’re sort of the architect, but they can be the general contractor, if you will.

Dr. Snyder:

Okay. Sure. I mean that’s something we do all the time. And, as you said, the local oncologist/hematologist should welcome that kind of a partnership, and that’s how I see it. So the patient on their own can initiate a referral, you know, to here or other centers or can ask their physician to make that referral.

But they don’t need the physician to do that. And we’re not in the business of trying to, you know, steal patients away from them. We want to work together. And it’s certainly much more convenient, since these are conditions, diseases that patients are going to have for many years.

So, we want, part of the quality of life is that you don’t have to be burdened to have to drive two hours, you know, to get to see the doctor. But, come up initially for the first assessment. Get an idea of what’s out there. What are the best current treatments? What’s coming on the horizon, maybe clinical trials that are active or are coming?

Where does transplant fit in? And, then, continue your relationship with the local doctor and communicate with those physicians readily through phone, through notes, and so that over time, if something changes, the counts are changing or some other feature is changing, you’re already connected.

You can come back, you know, to us and ask, well, now what? What are my options now?

And on the other side, if I know that we have a clinical trial that’s opening that might be relevant for some of my patients that I’ve seen before, I will be sure that the physicians out there, and the patients who have come will be aware of that so they can benefit.

Dr. Scott:

We keep a running list of the people that we see in consult, and we have clinical trial lists. If they’re coming up, we will contact those patients and bring them in if we’re opening up a study, and we think they would be eligible for it. So I think there are a lot of advantages in having a specialist involved in your care.

Andrew Schorr:

I just have one more and then I’ll be quiet. So, Dr. Scott, what is helpful in a visit?

So, people learn. They go on the Internet. They go to the support group. Now, they have questions, and they’re coming to see you.

Dr. Scott:

Right.  

Andrew Schorr:

How can they have a productive visit? Do they come with a list of questions? Do they come with a tape recorder? Do they come with their spouse? What makes a successful visit? 

Dr. Scott:

So, when you ask that question, I immediately think of the line from Jerry Maguire, help me help you. You guys remember that? So I have patients who actually pre-prepare their list of questions, and they mail it to my nurse. And she prints it out for me and says, okay, these are the questions they’re going to want to know the answers to. 

Obviously, that helps a lot. And I think that’s very helpful. When I do my initial consult, we have a tape recorder in the room. It’s not a tape recorder anymore. I mean it’s like a Dictaphone-type thing. And, then, someone just types it up, and they get sent a CD of their initial visit and what was said.

And I think that patients find that very helpful. I get a lot of positive feedback from that, the video recording. But, preparing questions, number one, I think is the most important thing from my perspective to help me help you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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