An opportunity to improve
A key advantage to affiliate cancer centers is the expanded care access they can provide to patients, said Dr. Lichtenfeld. While some patients can bypass their community hospital and travel to a top-ranked cancer hospital for treatment, others do not have that capability.
“Some people will not leave their communities,” he said. “It would be wrong to take this research and point at bad doctors for not sending their patient [to a more specialized hospital]. Sometimes, its patients themselves, by choice or necessity, who can’t go somewhere else.”
Dr. Boffa emphasized that the recent research on safety presents an exciting opportunity for flagship institutions and their affiliates to analyze their structure and make improvements where necessary.
“The fact that [the hospitals] are already connected in some way is a huge advance; that’s half the battle,” Dr. Boffa said. “The next step is how do we distill what elements of care are transferable. How do we leverage this connection to share what makes the safer hospitals safer?”