Perspectives: How robust patient scheduling and intake enable better patient access to cancer care – a UK case study

TTA has an open invitation to industry leaders to contribute to our Perspectives non-promotional opinion area. Today’s contribution is from Josif Dishliev, co-founder at Healee, an integrated patient access solution built for the operational complexity of high-performing medical groups. For one of its clients, UK-based Perci Health, Healee helped launch a branded patient access platform that aims to challenge the status quo for those impacted by cancer. Perci Health connects people living with cancer and their caregivers to a team of multidisciplinary cancer experts, tackling the physical, psychological, and practical impacts of cancer with a focus on managing the long-term side effects of treatment which are often overlooked in traditional healthcare. In this article, Mr. Dishliev talks about the role robust patient scheduling and intake capabilities play in improving patient access to cancer care.

When it comes to cancer treatment itself, the UK has one of the most well-developed healthcare systems in the world. With advancements in screenings, diagnostics, and therapy, the cancer survival rate in the country has seen radical improvement. Although 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, survival rates have more than doubled, and by 2030 6% of the population will be living with and beyond cancer.  

However, innovation in the aftercare of cancer survivors has significantly lagged. Patients find the healthcare system complicated and confusing, they cannot get the care they need, and continue to suffer from the long-term effects of treatment.

Digital health technology holds immense potential to improve patient access to cancer care and provide people living with or beyond cancer with much-needed support from the physical, psychological, and practical impacts of cancer. 

Perci Health observed several critical requirements when it comes to successfully implementing a patient access solution that enhances cancer care:

Allow for custom digital intake forms

Strong digital patient intake is the first – and one of the most crucial – steps to the success of a virtual-first care model that prioritizes convenience and affordability but not at the expense of high-quality personalized care.

Perci’s Healee-powered platform utilizes digital intake forms by offering an online questionnaire that first determines the person’s demographic profile and then provides the option for two journeys – “supporting someone with cancer” or “living with or beyond cancer.”

  • For people who choose the “supporting someone with cancer” option, the platform asks a set of questions to determine the physical, psychological, and social impact that taking care of a person with cancer has had on them. 
  • For people who choose the “living with or beyond cancer” option, the platform asks several additional questions including type of cancer, year of diagnosis, and treatment stage.

Based on each person’s answers, the platform offers tailored recommendations for the type of care and the healthcare professionals best suited to their needs.

Robust patient access platforms offer custom intake forms, which determine each user’s needs based on their demographics and specific physical and psychological requirements. This method allows users to access personalized treatment plans and match them with the healthcare professional best suited to their needs.

Enable strong patient-provider matching

A well-designed patient access solution allows matching the exact patient need with the best-suited provider in one easy, smooth and real-time provider search experience. Automated patient-provider matching takes into account providers’ characteristics such as provider specialty and considers patient and provider preferences as well as system requirements.

Perci’s platform offers over 20 holistic cancer support types and a list of NHS-qualified healthcare professionals that range from cancer and clinical exercise coaches to psychologists, dieticians, psychosexual therapists, and more. 

Given the many different types of cancer specialists and the varying needs of cancer patients, the access to the right team of healthcare professionals is crucial to improving patient outcomes.

Allow for robust self-scheduling capabilities

Patient self-scheduling enables patients to take charge of their healthcare journey by granting them the flexibility to book appointments anytime and from anywhere, without the need for staff intervention. With self-scheduling, patients enjoy greater accessibility and control when it comes to securing appointments, ensuring a seamless and personalized healthcare experience.

Perci’s platform utilizes patient self-scheduling by allowing users to book an appointment with a healthcare professional from a list that includes information on each practitioner’s expertise, qualifications, availability, services and pricing.

Self-scheduling is especially important to cancer and post-cancer patients as it empowers them to take control of their treatment journey by allowing them to conveniently manage their schedule and minimize waiting times, thereby reducing additional stress and enabling them to focus on their health and well-being.

Incorporate a strong telehealth offering

Telehealth capabilities are an integral element of high-quality virtual-first cancer care. Perci uses telehealth to provide patients with an easy, affordable and convenient way to attend appointments, keep in touch with the care team between sessions, and send timely notifications to their healthcare providers.

The key to providing a good telehealth offering is ensuring an excellent user experience that has the specific type of patient in mind. It does so by allowing a multi-channel approach to fit every need, including HIPAA and GDPR-compliant video calls, secure messaging and email, SMS, and in-app notifications.

Ensure smooth patient hand-off

Providing support across the entire cancer continuum is vital in order to change patient outcomes, from preparing for treatment to support during treatment, recovery and rehabilitation, and return to work. This is why Perci’s platform accommodates different user types, from people living with cancer to recovering patients, their caregivers, and employers. 

Effective workflow automation also facilitates collaboration among healthcare professionals and helps eliminate unproductive tasks for staff, while freeing up more time for patient care.

Accommodate new partnerships

Cancer care and post-care is a field that is constantly evolving and thus requires a flexible approach. A successful patient access platform requires scalable server resources and extendable features that allow providers to fit exact use cases and adapt to diverse and evolving organizational roles and business requirements.

Perci Health, for example, scaled its patient access solution to unlock innovative reimbursement models for cancer care through employers and insurers.

While 36% of people diagnosed with cancer in the UK are of working age, there is little-to-no support focused on helping them to remain in or return to work post-cancer treatment. And as employers look for novel solutions to better support their employees impacted by cancer, patient access platforms can fill market gaps that cannot be served by traditional healthcare.

With its power to personalize the patient experience through custom digital intake forms, patient-provider matching, robust self-scheduling, and telehealth capabilities, a well-designed patient access platform can dramatically improve patient access to cancer care.

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