There is a general increase in cancer cases in the Netherlands, and modern lifestyles are contributing to this. Cancer-related costs are growing exponentially, with hospital treatment and lost working days accounting for 33% and 51% of the total respectively. All parties involved – patients, hospitals, doctors and health insurance companies – believe a paradigm shift within the Dutch healthcare chain is needed to design a more efficient system.
Changes focus on making the system not only cheaper, but also better for the patient.
The Dutch Ministry of Health has initiated various public policy changes aimed at “high value at the lowest costs”. Changes focus on making the system not only cheaper, but also better for the patient. Repositioned at the heart of the system, patients are empowered as genuine actors in their own journeys. This is part of a complete healthcare reorganization designed to make the system more cost effective. This is the context in which the Best Onco Care For Me Ecosystem project was launched.
Patient self-management, including nutrition and exercise, is an essential part of the project and fits with recent changes in the health system. “This changed environment and the increased attention to nutrition allowed us to become involved, combining the purpose of the Danone Ecosystem Fund with the need to activate the new policies,” explains Inge Mohede, Patient and Carer Advocacy Manager at Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition in the Netherlands.
With the support of the Danone Ecosystem Fund, the Cancer Patient Federation and Nutricia combined their expertise to build a shared vision and implement the project.
The Best Onco Care For Me project was realized through co-creation. With the support of the Danone Ecosystem Fund, the Cancer Patient Federation and Nutricia combined their expertise to build a shared vision and implement the project. “This way we could work from a widely accepted platform in which all involved in cancer treatment joined forces,” says Inge Mohede.
The aim of the project is to improve cancer patients’ well-being and recovery, and decrease chronic disability among ex-cancer patients. To do this, the Best Onco Care For Me project empowers them through on-line individual nutritional follow-up, physical exercises and monitoring, and by developing an accredited education programme for oncology nurses and practitioners.
In February 2014, as part of the programme, a new digital self-management tool named ʽOncokompasʼ was introduced, led by the VU University Medical Center. It will be progressively implemented in 58 hospitals.
Thanks to Oncokompas, patients become empowered to play an active role in their disease journey.
In addition to their medical treatment, the tool enables them to be personally involved in and co-manage supportive care factors. Specific questions covering physical as well as mental condition generate a personal profile with tailored and personalised advice. If needed, direct referral to relevant health care professionals will be offered. This self-management approach towards supportive care is expected to both improve patient quality of life and decrease health-care costs.
The Best Onco Care team will develop education for patients and health care professionals. The training has started in a pilot region in March 2015 and will subsequently be rolled out to other regions.
This new health provision model, with a strong emphasis on self-management, has potential to expand in the future to cover other diseases like diabetes or Alzheimer’s, or other countries. Around 2400 oncology patients will benefit from the program by 2016.
*NFK, Achmea, UMCU-oncology and Julius center