THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – For many patients, embarking on the lung cancer diagnostic journey through Ontario’s healthcare system can be a confusing and anxious time. There are many doctors’ appointments, tests, and procedures that need to be remembered, attended, and followed-up. This is why an internet-based tool, called ‘The Diagnostic Assessment Program Electronic Pathway Solution (DAP-EPS)’ has been developed to help improve the patient and provider experience throughout this diagnostic journey.
The DAP-EPS is a secure interactive website that provides patients and healthcare providers with shared information and support as a patient proceeds from the suspicion of lung cancer to a definitive cancer or non-cancer diagnosis.
Patients undergoing testing for lung cancer at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) have access to the DAP-EPS, supported by the Diagnostic Assessment Program staff. Patients are also welcome to invite family members or friends to be a part of their ‘Care Team’ on the DAP-EPS.
Amy Boucher, the Patient Navigator for the Lung Diagnostic Assessment Program at TBRHSC, is the liaison between the healthcare teams and patients. She provides patients with information about the DAP-EPS. “The EPS is designed to empower patients by giving them access to important information about their diagnostic journey,” says Boucher. “This helps manage the stress and reduce potential confusion related to the variety of procedures and appointments they have,” she adds.
Features of the EPS that patients find most helpful include:
• Tracking all appointments (i.e. dates and times of procedures such as Lung Biopsy, PET Scan, etc.);
• Viewing test results;
• Reading explanations about diagnostic tests and medical terms;
• Following along a Diagnostic Pathway Map, which shows each step of the typical lung cancer diagnostic journey;
• Contacting the Patient Navigator with any questions using secure instant messaging;
• The option of connecting with other patients to share experiences through a discussion board; and
• Accessing a list of all healthcare providers in their Care Team, which includes their contact information.
The DAP-EPS puts the focus on Patient and Family Centred Care, with a goal to support patients throughout their diagnostic journey when there is a suspicion of lung cancer. It also helps the various healthcare providers and support staff to coordinate a patient’s care.
Alicia Scocchia, the Diagnostic Assessment Program Lead praises the program. “It’s a great success that patients and families within our region were among the first in Ontario to have access to the EPS, and continue to find it a helpful resource throughout their diagnostic journey.”
The DAP-EPS is a Cancer Care Ontario initiative pioneered by the TBRHSC through a pilot project that began in June 2011. Since then, the tool has expanded across the province of Ontario. This tool provides a glimpse of what an electronic medical record can provide in the future. However, the DAP-EPS focuses on a specific section of a patient’s medical care.
For more information about the Diagnostic Assessment Program at TBRHSC, visit: tbrhsc.net/dap