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Webinar Recap: Oncology Care Management

How to Get Started with PCM + CCM Programs

Community oncology care teams are continuously in touch with their patients. Everyone from the front desk staff to physicians offers constant support by answering treatment questions, addressing new symptoms, sending important reminders, offering care instructions to family members, and so much more.

As a result, more and more practices are utilizing Principal and Chronic Care Management (PCM/CCM) programs to help support the many services that care teams are already providing to their patients. Canopy customer data shows that ~35% of billable care time for these programs is for existing activities - such as inbound symptom calls, scheduling appointments, Rx refills, etc. However, taking the leap can be intimidating for practices worried that participation in these programs could result in low enrollment and increased staff workload. 

Canopy hosted a live webinar with Kathy Oubre, CEO of Pontchartrain Cancer Center, who shared critical tips for strategically scaling PCM + CCM programs without adding additional burden for staff.

Getting Started with a Care Management Program

So, why now? Why are more and more practices interested in implementing these programs? A few critical reasons include offering high-quality continuous care to patients (which has demonstrated improved outcomes), reimbursement policy changes, and an overall increase in remote care that qualifies as billable time. Simply put, many practices want to generate new reimbursement streams from high-quality care already delivered daily to patients. However, implementing a program, finding the right technology, training staff, enrolling patients, and managing multiple programs is far easier said than done. 

Kathy Oubre, CEO of Pontchartrain Cancer Center (PCC), a community oncology practice with multiple locations in Louisiana, began examining programs as she said, “We needed to provide more wrap-around services to our patients while still keeping the practice’s doors open.” After carefully examining their patient population (over 50% qualifying for Medicare fee-for-service coverage), she realized that PCM could provide enormous value if done correctly. However,  staff “all the way from medical assistants to physicians,” shared Kathy, were nervous that documenting this time would take hours and add burden to their already busy days.

The practice initially used its EHR and manual paper processes for the program. However,  it became clear that while the EHR was great for certain aspects of care management, the platform was not designed to automatically capture all of the staff’s eligible care time. Kathy decided to search for a platform purpose-built to solve PCM and CCM management that would also easily complement the EHR.

“We weren’t looking for a single platform that would be everything to our patients and staff. We wanted to use each tool for what they were best at, and we needed tech partners who made it easy for our staff to handle a new care program without extra hassle. One option was outsourcing to third-party clinicians, but it just wouldn’t work for us. We’re so connected to our patients, and we need to maintain that strong bond and personalized care.” 

—Kathy Oubre, CEO, Pontchartrain Cancer Center

PCC partnered with Canopy to further transform patient outcomes through continuous care management and to scale their PCM program. Canopy is a comprehensive platform to help oncology practices deliver the care that happens between visits, empowering staff to identify and prioritize patients who need help, efficiently resolve issues with intelligent software, and generate new reimbursement streams from high-quality care. 

The flexible Program Management module enables practices to easily operationalize these care programs. Teams can identify and prioritize eligible patients for enrollment, streamline consent processes and end-to-end workflows for staff, and automatically capture all time spent on billable care activities.

Identifying & Enrolling Patients

During the first few months of implementation, PCC used Canopy’s triage management tools to investigate which patients needed the most touchpoints and remote care by identifying eligible patients and automatically capturing care time analytics. This was a critical step in determining which patients should be enrolled first, and the practice began to bring up the topic during patient education visits when covering general care.

Staff shared concerns about enrolling existing patients who were already comfortable with current systems. Kathy said, “It’s all about how you frame it. We framed it as a new program that we are offering and why it would be great for you.”

“Our patients do really like it. I think almost no one has opted out. They like those touch points, and, you know, keep in mind, these are older people. Some of them are a little more socially isolated, and they love those phone calls. They love those touch points and just having someone from our care team check in.”

Within just one month, their approach resulted in the enrollment of 60 patients in PCM, achieving an impressive 65% opt-in rate (and without hiring any additional staff) as a result of their targeted patient enrollment efforts.

Change Management

Change management is always difficult, and one of the biggest hurdles is often with providers.  Kathy shared how one staff member would tell her that she could answer the phone call in two minutes, and it would take longer to log that time in Canopy. However, she would see the same staff member still on that same call several minutes later, and they realized it was time that could have been reimbursed.

Canopy’s analytics tools were imperative to helping finetune the program over time.  Kathy said, “Dashboards identified where we had low enrollment numbers and low overall time logged in. It's not meant to be a punishment, but to keep an eye on this program and tackle barriers or perceived barriers before they become a problem.” 

For example, dashboards highlighted low patient enrollment numbers from a staff member who was normally very comfortable speaking with patients regularly on the phone. She was able to share with Kathy how she didn’t like the PCM enrollment script, and they tailored it to her own voice which felt far more genuine in her interactions. Kathy said, “Something like that seems very little, but it was an ah-ha moment for me.”

“In general, it's just deepened patient and practice relationships, and that’s been kind of a win-win for everyone.”

Managing Care

How do you divide the complex workload across staff? The team met to decide who would handle each piece of the puzzle. Some staff members like to do check-in calls in the morning while others do them throughout the day. Overall, the team has found that Canopy’s Smart Work Queue filters help prioritize the day or week.

The Canopy Platform features a personalized, Smart Work Queue that aggregates and prioritizes patient-related tasks, routes tasks across departments, and enhances collaboration among staff. The Platform also automatically captures all time spent on billable care activities, including triage calls.

Working Together

PCC needed a partner who could offer streamlined and customized solutions that integrate into their existing workflows and systems. that was uniquely adapted to their needs. Working together with Canopy new features are being readily developed like one that will allow staff members to directly access Canopy from within their EMR with just one button. 

“The Canopy team is very good about listening to practice feedback and working with practices to identify workflows or new features.  I like that responsive partnership with the Canopy team.”

Want to implement high-touch, quality care programs that aim to drive better patient outcomes and increase practice revenue? Contact the Canopy team to learn more.