Improving patient access to proton therapy

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 25, 2021
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy
From the October 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

He adds that it also requires “preparedness and efficiency to bring the patient into the system quickly, and then to also send the patient back to their original provider once treatment is complete, with follow-up recommendations and guidance around survivorship care."

The key to making referring providers more aware of what proton therapy has to offer, says Weinbach, is to educate them and patients. “We need to make sure patients know proton therapy is a viable treatment option for them and how they can learn about it and get access to the treatment and centers. For the physician community, they need to know what indications are appropriate and when proton therapy is a good option.”

Mahajan says this, along with a change in their processes, is needed for insurance companies too. “Insurance companies need to be educated and need to let physicians make decisions and remove hurdles for physicians and patients. They need to reduce the time required to get denial and appropriate approvals for insurance.”

Regarding geographic access, Deville says strategic partnerships can help not just in expanding access to proton therapy but also in expanding it for people of different racial, ethnic, and socio-demographic backgrounds. "I think proton centers and health systems and departments entering this arena should have an awareness that you are starting with this limited resource and technology which inherently poses a challenge in ensuring access. It's important to think intentionally and creatively about pathways for all patients to access this unique treatment."

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