Our project Excellent Cancer Centers addresses the fundamental issue that on the one hand it is well known that there are significant differences in quality between the different hospitals that treat for Cancer, but that for the patient there are no tools to find out about those differences. A method that is both elegant and efficient to obtain a ranking that is useful for patients has been developed by professor Bert Kersten, in cooperation with a commercial company.
The method involves asking all specialists in the Netherlands the question (within their own area of expertise): “If it were youre own partner who had Cancer, which center would you recommend?” It turns out that this way of asking the question gives usable and clear results, and also raises little doubt as to honesty or reliability.
And the result is significant: for each different type of Cancer (we take the 15 most relevant types) there are very few (between 1 and 10, but mostly 3 or 4) centers where you find really the best expertise and where you get the best possible treatment. Excellence is a self-amplifying effect, research and treatment go hand in hand: the more patients you see, the better you can distinguish the differences and unique characteristics of each, and the faster and the more we learn.
An example that is now universally accepted is the Máxima Children’s Hospital for Cancer, where all the best knowledge, equipment, experience and environment for children are available, and the results are demonstrably better than when treatment was still distributed.
Where are we now:
- The data will be gathered by the IQVIA company (a large international medical company of 55000+ employees). They will make those data available to us for free!
- The insurers VGZ and Zilveren Kruis will support us in further analysis and corroboration of the results just for the case that they might be questioned. The National Cancer registration and DICA (the tool for the doctors themselves to analyse their own results vs their peers) are willing to help us with data and advice.
- An entrepreneur who is a friend of Inspire2Live has offered to offer a platform for publication and consultation by patients of the results on his health-related websites (good for hundreds of thousands of hits every month).
- We are working towards a type of organization where employees earn a salary, in order to provide stable and professional maintenance, development and communication. At this moment the project team is investigating several routes and options for subsidy and structural funding.
- The first audience we want to address are new patients and their general practitioners, because the choice for the Excellent Cancer Center should ideally be made before the first visit to hospital, during the discussion of patient and doctor on the possibility of Cancer. The GP is strongly involved in the local medical environment, and will therefore be most likely to routinely recommend the local hospital. In order to influence this behavior the GP’s are certainly an audience that deserves great attention.
We are convinced that successful implementation will lead to broad improvements for society in the shape of:
- better chances for quality and quantity of survival and cure for the patient
- less second opinions and
- less overtreatment (ineffective but harmful attempts at treatment) to be paid by the insurer
- more executive attention in the hospitals for flexibility, implementation and focus
What are the next steps?:
- More detailed description of the structure and work processes
- Finding measurable criteria for results and developing the appropriate measurement tools
- Completing the request for funding, firstly towards Philanthropy, and later for social investors
- Description of numerical analysis together with insurance companies and DICA, and possible IKNL
- We will publish the results as soon as they are available, even if we don’t yet have the final environment to do so, in which case we will use a simplified form and temporary platform