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February 17, 2022

A new model for care, a new model for a career in oncology

When I reached out in 2018 to my longtime friend and colleague Dr. Ravi Salgia, Chair of the Medical Oncology and Developmental Therapeutics Division at City of Hope, I told him that I was looking for a change in my career. I explained that I was interested in pursuing a new and exciting opportunity combining education, outreach, and telemedicine. I suspected that it didn’t exist yet, but if City of Hope—known for its innovation—was forging new paths, I’d be interested in exploring them in the future.

Dr. Salgia said that not only did such a novel work situation exist, but one was just getting off the ground at that time. City of Hope then invited me to visit the campus and meet with several of the visionaries leading this nascent effort. Although I hadn’t planned on moving so soon, I decided that I didn’t want to miss out on this revolutionary venture that would ultimately become AccessHope.

An energizing journey from the start

I moved to Los Angeles in early 2019, before AccessHope had formally become its own entity, and when it was just taking shape. Since then, it has grown to well over 100 employees covering more than 3 million members employed by 75 clients, including 21 Fortune 500 companies, across 24 states with 3,000 to 6,000 employees.

At AccessHope, we’re all on an exhilarating journey that continues to evolve. For me, it has been a remarkably gratifying career transition, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a seismic shift in how we practice medicine. I now work in a setting that allows me to perform a diverse range of activities, focus on the most intellectually challenging aspects of oncology, and shape the course of a novel model of oncology that addresses some of the leading shortcomings of current practice.


A strong balance of clinical and consult

In practical terms, I split my time between clinical activities and administrative activities. The clinical role includes a half-day of clinic that combines in-person clinic and an increasing need for telemedicine. When the pandemic disrupted our conventional practice patterns, telemedicine became a helpful adaptation that highlighted the feasibility of delivering care remotely. The other AccessHope physicians and I have continued to offer telemedicine consultations to people well beyond the typical reach of City of Hope, overcoming the historical barriers of geography by providing interactive expert support to patients in other states while demonstrating the potential of Oncology 2.0.

Those activities have resonated completely with the other large clinical component of my job, which includes reviewing cases in my specialty of lung cancer. The cases come from employees eligible for our expert review services through their company’s benefits and the employees’ community oncologists. For the case reviews, I summarize the optimal management as a written educational report for their medical team. I also review the case reports by my colleagues, enabling me to stay up to date on best practices across the rapidly evolving field of oncology.

With my clinical activities filling about half of my time, I spend the rest of it developing processes to provide remote consult services for an ever-growing array of companies and their employees through a national collaboration of renowned cancer centers. Since AccessHope’s inception, our panel has increased from dozens of experts with City of Hope to a deep bench of experts with multiple leading institutions. This growth has brought the challenges of developing efficiencies and consistencies in maintaining the excellence of our service.

While these demands require ongoing vigilance and creativity, I’ve gotten to know the satisfaction of contributing to a care model that uniquely integrates the expertise of subspecialists. With it comes the promise of better outcomes, as community-based medical teams continue to deliver the care for their patients, keeping them close to their home and support system.


A rewarding opportunity to extend innovation

With AccessHope, I can largely work from home yet deliver in-person clinical care, telemedicine-based practice, thoughtful distillation of remote case recommendations, and direct influence over a new, rapidly expanding way to deliver cancer care. As somebody who was looking for something totally different in my career, I’ve found exactly what I wanted in AccessHope.

In today’s telemedicine-driven, work-from-home world, AccessHope is perfectly positioned to innovatively connect the latest developments in the remarkable complexities of oncology to patients everywhere. That’s why it has not only survived but thrived over the past few years—offering oncologists an enriching setting that values creative solutions on how we continue to innovatively deliver cancer care.

If you’re a GI or breast cancer subspecialist, consider this opportunity with AccessHope.

 

Last updated February 17, 2022

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