Polaris Oncology is a Web-based, all-in-one solution to screen for, assess and monitor psychosocial distress among cancer patients, in accordance with the Commission on Cancer’s accreditation standards. It consists of three components: the assessment, patient and care team report generator, and automated referrals. Exciting improvements have been made to each.
In response to client feedback, the core assessment has been shortened, without sacrificing clinical validity. It works first as a screener for distress—based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Distress Thermometer. All patients are also asked a core set of questions regarding their supports, functional disability, physical symptoms and alcohol and tobacco use. Those patients who score a four or higher on the Distress Thermometer are asked additional questions to fully identify all their psychosocial needs.
Branching logic ensures that patients respond only to questions that are relevant to their situation, and several modules are available now as add-ons, including patient satisfaction, rehabilitative care, palliative care, dietary habits and drug abuse, to give hospitals more control over the length of the assessment.
Additionally, modifications are being made to accommodate the visually impaired and those who are intimidated by computers or computer illiterate. These adaptations include an audio option and promoting the use of a detachable numeric keypad that resembles a television remote control. Patients are also now able to complete the assessment from home using a HIPAA-compliant, secure Web-based platform.
For non-English speakers, last year Polaris released a Spanish version of the system (http://www.polarishealth.com/
Polaris is committed to adapting to a cancer center’s workflow to ensure each component of the system seamlessly integrates with the current clinical process. Accordingly, the cancer care team report now includes a trigger page to alert the care team to additional supports or resources a patient may need such as nutrition counseling or a tobacco cessation program, and the system can send alerts by e-mail and text to the care team regarding patients who are in need of immediate care.
The monitoring report, which provides updates to the care team on a patient’s progress, includes a chart that compares the baseline with subsequent assessments. In one quick glance, the care team can determine whether a patient who reported smoking has quit, distress levels have dropped or increased or their functional disability has worsened, for example. The monitoring reports also indicate whether patients are utilizing referrals and support services such as attending support groups or meeting with a chaplain.
Finally, Polaris has fine-tuned its referral system to best support accreditation requirements. Polaris Oncology can support billing needs by providing the requisite codes.
For more information on Polaris Oncology and its new features, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://www.polarishealth.com/
About Polaris Health Directions
Polaris recognizes that organizations cannot manage what they do not measure. Many behavioral health care providers and payers may not be collecting and analyzing enough of the right data to answer basic questions about the cost-effectiveness of the care they offer. Polaris's advanced technology and science driven assessment systems are designed to capture the clinical data essential to quality improvement and enhanced organizational management. Polaris solutions provide advanced analytics to help organizations improve and demonstrate to their customers the value of their care. With a focus on prediction, Polaris solutions do more than describe clinical change. Polaris systems also indicate if treatment is likely to have a positive result. Helping organizations make better decisions in the present by anticipating the future will be the difference in reducing their costs while improving patient care.