Piedmont Fayette Hospital has joined Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in becoming Georgia’s only hospitals affiliated with the MD Anderson Cancer Network.
A physician on the front lines of cancer care is Piedmont Cancer Institute oncologist Jonathan Bender, who commented on how the affiliation with MD Anderson has affected best practices and protocols.
Bender said Piedmont always tries to use the most up-to-date information relating to rapidly-changing field of oncology. Keeping up with every sub-speciality in oncology can be difficult but MD Anderson has perfected this, Bender said, noting that some of their oncologists work with only one disease.
“I don’t think anyone else in the world has this kind of experience,” Bender said.
Though Piedmont doctors prior to the affiliation could handle nearly all concerns, those doctors can now have Anderson review the case and contact Piedmont within 48 hours to “provide the best care and be able to avoid going out of state for another opinion,” Bender said.
Citing another example, Bender said Piedmont conducts a tumor conference with the MD Anderson network once a week where specific cases are presented.
“They have specialists from all aspects and we devise a multi-disciplinary plan,” said Bender.
Yet another benefit of the network is the interaction whereby, “They critique how we’re practicing oncology,” Bender said citing an example. “They go through a case file to make sure we’re at the highest level.”
For 10 of the past 12 years, including 2013, MD Anderson, has ranked number one in cancer care in the “Best Hospitals” survey published by U.S. News & World Report. MD Anderson is a program of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“Our affiliation with the MD Anderson Cancer Network ensures our patients receive cancer care based on best practices developed by one of America’s leading cancer care providers,” said Piedmont Healthcare CEO Kevin Brown. “While excellent care has always been provided at Piedmont, this collaboration takes our quality assurances to a new level.”
Thomas Burke, executive vice president with MD Anderson Cancer Network, said the affiliation with Piedmont is expected to raise the bar even higher for cancer care in Georgia.
“MD Anderson Cancer Network was created to advance our mission of eliminating cancer by sharing our knowledge and extending our multidisciplinary care,” said Burke. “Piedmont is a respected organization with a long history of providing high-quality, patient-centered care. Our new affiliation builds on Piedmont’s strengths by adding MD Anderson’s cancer expertise, and we’re confident it will raise the bar even higher for cancer care in Georgia.”
Community and Public Relations Director Debbie Britt said the MD Anderson best practices and protocols now in place means Piedmont’s quality medical care is enhanced by the affiliation.
“Piedmont was already providing quality care for cancer treatment. This affiliation enhances that quality of care,” Britt said.
Britt noted that having an MD Anderson-certified hospital in Fayette County means that local residents will not have to be away from home while receiving cancer care, adding that 700 patients traveled from Georgia to Houston during a 12-month period in 2012-2013.
“By teaming up, we’re combining the best of what we provide locally with the world-renown expertise of MD Anderson,” said oncologist Perry Ballard. “This collaboration provides those Piedmont physicians also certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network with access to evidence-based, disease-specific guidelines for cancer treatment, prevention, early detection and follow-up care developed by a national leader in cancer care.”
The ongoing affiliation between Piedmont and Anderson also translates into another care-related advantage for patients by enabling Piedmont to fast-track though Anderson’s network so that patients who need to visit the Houston facility can get there in quicker fashion, said Bender.
The thing that makes the affiliation so desirable is that MD Anderson is made up of scientists and researchers who create new techniques and therapies, Bender added.
Britt said other Piedmont hospitals, including those in Newnan and Henry County, are expected to become MD Anderson Cancer Network-certified members.