Heartland and by its breast cancer care has seen a quick return on its membership in the Mayo Care Clinic Network since announcing the partnership in May.
"This allows us to have one more opportunity to increase our knowledge in managing breast cancer," says Dr. Robert C. Johnson, who specializes in oncology and radiation at Heartland Health.
Heartland utilizes the network's E-Consult system to complement its care of all cancer patients, including those diagnosed with breast cancer. The process, Dr. Johnson says, allows Heartland's specialists to request additional evaluation by the Mayo Clinic's physician experts when unique issues call for further analysis.
Electronic versions of a patient's diagnostic X-rays, pathological slides and clinical information are relayed to the Mayo Clinic's doctors, and in a very short period of time -- often just a matter of days -- the Mayo Clinic responds with a detailed review of the case and its recommendations tailored specifically to the individual patient.
"While this is not needed for the vast majority of our patients, it does allow us a unique opportunity for those very challenging cases," Dr. Johnson says.
Heartland surgeons also are able to further their knowledge base concerning cancer care through conferences and educational outreach opportunities with the Mayo Clinic, which in turn further benefits cancer patients in the St. Joseph area.
Dr. Johnson says Heartland and the Mayo Clinic share a similar philosophy regarding patient care that places an emphasis on a holistic approach -- not just managing a patient's illness but helping them lead a full and healthy life.
Those diagnosed with breast or any other form of cancer will continue to benefit from the partnership in both the short and long term.
Dr. Johnson says many exciting opportunities lie in the future of Heartland's collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Ongoing education and development through the network, he says, will allow Heartland to continue to offer the most cutting-edge cancer therapies available. In addition, he notes the potential of a virtual consultation and video conferencing system that would connect Heartland's cancer care teams directly with Mayo Clinic experts.
"We feel strongly that we can grow in our relationship with the Mayo Clinic in education programs and clinical care opportunities with the ultimate goal of improving our ability to care for patients in our local community," Dr. Johnson says.
Kevin Krauskopf can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedotcom. ___
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