Sample of Our Work
Optimal Care Pathways (OCP)
Optimal Cancer Care Pathways aim to improve patient outcomes by facilitating consistent, safe, high quality and evidence-based care. They can be used by health services and professionals as a tool to identify gaps in current cancer services and inform quality improvement initiatives across all aspects of the care pathway
Work is underway on two new OCP projects in the areas of Pancreatic and Head and Neck Cancers. The following activities have been a key focus of the pancreatic and head and neck projects this year:
Facilitating access to self-care information for patients and carers affected by pancreatic cancer
Working with health services to increase awareness of and utilisation of supportive care resources and screening
Exploring opportunities to establish a peer-led support group for patients and carers affected by health and neck
Metro-Regional Engagement Project
The Metropolitan-Regional Engagement Project is a collaboration between the Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Service (LMICS) and WCMICS. The goal of this project is to better connect care and services for cancer patients who travel between country Victorian and Melbourne city.
Each year, on average WCMICS hospitals around ~51% of cancer patients that live in country Victoria. Of those patients 2,237 live in the Loddon Mallee region and travel down to the city for cancer treatment, test or appointments. This is around 22% of people diagnosed with cancer in Loddon Mallee that have an admission to a WCMICS hospital.
“The personal stories of regional patient who transfer between WCMICS and LMICS health services for treatment highlight many issues and heightened our awareness of the need to improve the disconnectedness of cancer care for patients and carers” (Trish Caulder, Project Manager). Rhonda is one of the many patients travelling long distances for cancer care and treatment.
This is Rhonda’s story, In her Words…
Precinct wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Directorate: Scoping Project
Cancer is the second most common cause of death for Aboriginal peoples in Australia. Aboriginal Victorians have significantly higher cancer mortality rates than those of non-Aboriginal Victorians.
The Parkville precinct health services understand the essential role they play in providing culturally safe cancer services to this population of people. Building strong, genuine and meaningful relationships between Aboriginal people and the Parkville Precinct health partners is integral to developing a culturally inclusive, responsive and respectful health service that will achieve improved (cancer) health outcomes for Aboriginal consumers and their families.
The objective of this project was to undertake scoping activity to better understand the current state of cultural safety of the Precinct hospitals and to identify existing gaps towards achieving the best practice of providing a cultural safe service towards Indigenous cancer patients. The project identified 2 key opportunities for further improvements:
Improving Indigenous patient identification on admission/presentation to hospital
Improving cultural safety with healthcare providers
Along with short and long term recommendations in each health services as well as collaboratively.
Victorian Tumour Summits (VTS)
Effort should be put into doing consistently what we already know works well
To complement the Optimal Care Pathways, statewide Tumour Summits are held to better understand the opportunities for improvements in cancer care. The statewide Tumour Summits Program is being undertaken by the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (Cancer Strategy and Development) to facilitate clinician led discussions around pathways of care.
The summits are clinician-led forums to identify unwarranted variations in tumour-based clinical practice and cancer outcomes that could be addressed through statewide action. In 2018/19 tumour summits for Head and Neck and Lung cancers were held with upcoming summits focusing on; Brain and Breast cancers. Recommendations from the Pancreatic Summit (held in 2017) and the recent Head and Neck Summit were prioritised into OCP work undertaken by the Integrated Cancer Services.
Multidisciplianry Meeting (MDM) Quailty Framework
Multidisciplinary care describes a collaborative approach to cancer treatment planning and ongoing care
Cancer multidisciplinary team meetings (MDM) are regular meetings involving a range of health professionals with expertise in the diagnosis and management of cancer with the purpose of developing a recommended treatment plan for individual patients.
A 2014 state-wide survey of cancer MDMs highlighted the increasing maturity of MDMs across Victoria and variation in how they were operating and resulted in a recommendation that a quality framework be developed to support health services to measure their MDMs against state-wide quality standards.
The development of a MDM Quality Framework has been undertaken by the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services. The framework outlines an agreed set of standards, indicators and measures for all cancer MDMs in Victoria and provides a set of tools for monitoring their quality. It references relevant peer reviewed MDM literature, DHHS policy and state-wide consultation including clinician interviews, surveys and peer review and tested with several MDMs.
Once implemented, the framework will enable greater consistency in the way cancer MDMs are conducted and monitored. It will facilitate greater awareness of the minimum requirements for MDM within the host health service and identification of variances in practice, enabling prioritisation of quality improvement activities relating to MDM inputs, processes and outputs.