Pink Notes for Primary Care
This first-of-its-kind toolkit will help primary healthcare providers to manage their “well” breast cancer patients.
Turns out, pink isn’t just for little girls. The South West Regional Cancer Program has unveiled “Pink Notes for Primary Care”, a resource guide for primary care providers to help manage their breast cancer patients in the follow up phase.
The innovative (and colourful) guide is part of a toolkit that was created in response to an initiative launched by Cancer Care Ontario last year aimed at facilitating an earlier discharge of “well” breast cancer patients from tertiary care centres back to primary care providers in the region.
The shift in moving follow up care from surgeons and specialists to primary care providers sooner will improve access for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and will allow follow up care and diagnostics to be performed in care settings closer to the patients’ homes. Care close to home offers many benefits to the patient, including a reduction in travel time and associated costs, as well as a close proximity to the patients’ support systems.
Breast cancer patients in the region who are “well” and one year or more from treatment are now being discharged back to their primary care provider. Exceptions include patients involved in a clinical trial or those without a primary care provider.
So, how do primary care physicians ensure optimal care for their “well” breast cancer patients? In addition to the Pink Notes resource guide, the South West Regional Cancer Program has developed an online educational series that includes the latest updates in managing common survivorship issues. For the more tech savvy physician, a mobile website has been developed for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices to allow physicians better access to Pink Notes no matter their location.
“It is our hope that providers find these tools helpful in managing well breast cancer patients in their practice,” says Dr. Tracy Sexton, Clinical Lead for the New Model for Well Breast Cancer Follow-Up project at the South West Regional Cancer Program. “Increased discharge of patients will allow for more timely new patient consults – one of Cancer Care Ontario’s deliverables.”
Pink Notes has been so well received across the South West region, that colleagues in the Erie-St. Clair region are adopting the innovative approach within their region.
“Having Pink Notes at my fingertips is immediately useful to me and reassuring to the patient,” says Jan Owen, Primary Care Lead at the South West Regional Cancer Program. “It’s comforting to the patient to know that the up-to-date information is provided by the team they worked with through the early part of their cancer journey.”