COOS BAY — A new collaboration between Bay Area Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University will enhance cancer care on the South Coast by linking patients electronically to OHSU’s highly specialized physicians.
“This is an important addition to our cancer program,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, radiation oncologist at Bay Area Hospital. “It increases the services we can offer locally and makes cancer care more convenient and accessible to our patients.”
A process known as telemedicine uses two-way television technology to let physicians at OHSU see and interact with patients in remote locations. The program at Bay Area Hospital already serves stroke patients as well as children in pediatric intensive care. Extending the service to cancer patients is important because of the prevalence of cancer in South Coast communities.
In 2010, Coos County reported Oregon’s 11th highest incidence of cancer but the third highest death rates for cancer. Some of the leading cancers — lung, mouth, esophagus, and kidney — relate to the prevalence of tobacco use in the area.
Although Bay Area Hospital offers well-qualified oncologists, the South Coast’s small population can’t support “subspecialty” physicians who focus on particular types of cancer. Many of the area’s residents are unable to access this highly specialized care because they don’t drive or can’t afford the time off work to travel.
“We already can provide excellent oncology diagnosis and treatment,” Henderson said. “Creating access to subspecialty opinions locally will help us to better coordinate all aspects of cancer care for patients with complex cancer problems.”
The telemedicine program is expected to launch in July as part of Bay Area Hospital’s overall enhancement of cancer services. The hospital is expanding its cancer treatment facilities and entering a partnership with North Bend Medical Center to consolidate radiation oncology, medical oncology and support services in a coordinated cancer center. The expansion is expected to be completed July 1.
The addition of subspecialty cancer care to the existing telemedicine services is made possible by a grant from the Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program at OHSU. The grant provides $35,500 to cover equipment, furnishings and supplies for a telemedicine room in Bay Area Hospital’s cancer center.
The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program is designed to build sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities by providing grants and other resources to foster development of community-identified cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship projects. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has made a decade-long commitment to invest in this program to develop robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians.
Bay Area Hospital is a community-owned, non-profit medical center serving South Coast residents and visitors. Along with cancer care, the hospital offers interventional cardiology, robotic-assisted surgery, joint and spine care, bariatric treatment, and other specialties. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, with a Gold Seal of Approval for quality and patient safety.
Additional information about cancer care at Bay Area Hospital is available at http://www.bayareahospital.org/Services/Cancer-Center.aspx.
Additional information about OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program is available at http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/cancer/outreach-programs/community-grants/index.cfm.