Meriden's Midstate Medical Center will soon be on the cutting edge of cancer treatment in Connecticut, following the news today that Hartford HealthCare was selected as a pioneering member of the newly formed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Alliance.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today launched a transformative initiative to improve the quality of cancer care and the lives of cancer patients.
Hartford HealthCare is a multi-hospital health care system in Connecticut, .
The partnership involves: Backus Hospital, Hartford Hospital, Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Center and Windham Hospital.
The joint announcement, made in Hartford by leaders of the two organizations, comes after year-long discussions resulting in a distinctive clinical and research partnership built to rapidly move innovative, evidence-based cancer care into the community setting and enable bi-directional learning across the institutions.
“For more than a century, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has delivered exceptional cancer care and generated the discoveries necessary to develop effective new treatments. Today, we recognize the need to do more,” said Craig Thompson, MD, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“Through the MSK Cancer Alliance—and in collaboration with Hartford HealthCare as a pioneering member—we are looking to create a new model to address the fundamental challenge of providing high-quality cancer care in a wider population of patients.”
“It’s an honor to be selected as the first partner of the MSK Cancer Alliance,” said Elliot Joseph, President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare. “Memorial Sloan-Kettering chose Hartford HealthCare because of our dedication to delivering high-quality, consistent care across the state and because of the proven expertise of our physicians and medical teams.
The MSK Cancer Alliance is designed to enable an ongoing, “living, breathing” dynamic partnership between the comprehensive cancer center and community oncology providers, in order to bring the newest knowledge into the community setting.
“The vast majority of cancer care in the United States is delivered by community oncologists, but cancer advances can take years to be adopted in a community setting,” said José Baselga, MD, Physician-in-Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, who notes that ongoing, interactive real-time relationships are needed to effectively close this gap.
The first MSK Alliance clinical trials site was established at Hartford Hospital, where many of the cancer clinical trials from MSK’s robust portfolio will be provided on-site. This will dramatically improve patient access to the latest cancer advances and breakthroughs.
“Through the MSK Cancer Alliance, MSK and HHC will together develop strategies to improve outcomes, and reduce the barriers to high-quality cancer care that many patients and families in Connecticut face today,” said Andrew Salner, Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering physicians and leadership will now be collaboratively guiding HHC toward excellence in both its cancer care and clinical research programs. This will be achieved, for example, by collaborating on disease management teams, through on-site observations of new techniques, by sharing educational resources, by conducting quality and outcomes research, and by working together toward expanded access to MSK’s clinical trials.
Over the next six months, teams from MSK and the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute will work collaboratively to assess the resources and capabilities of each of the system’s five acute care hospitals, identifying specific areas of focus. In addition, they will jointly recruit a physician-in-chief of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute who will be on the staff at both Hartford HealthCare and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
The critical need for such an Alliance can be found in a report recently issued by the Institute of Medicine that described the challenge of delivering high-quality cancer care as a national “crisis” and noted advances in treatment may be unavailable to patients who lack access to sophisticated genetic tests or clinical trials.
By 2030, new diagnoses are expected to reach 2.3 million a year as the population ages and that there may not be enough oncology specialists to care for these patients.
“When it comes to cancer treatment, one size no longer fits all. We need outcomes-based solutions on an entirely new scale due to these extraordinary challenges,” said Dr. Thompson. “Our approach will substantively address issues raised in the IOM report,” added Dr. Thompson, who notes that we are building this Alliance—and beginning in Hartford—based on the belief that we all have something to learn from each other.”
MSK and HHC will work collaboratively to measure changes in outcomes including survival rates, quality of life, and total cost of care. HHC and future Alliance members will provide MSK with first-hand knowledge of how cancer advances are practiced in a community setting, where more than 80 percent of cancer patients in the United States receive cancer care.
“Good cancer care is not just treating cancer—it’s treating your cancer. Likewise, our partnership was designed to adapt and respond to the particular needs of Hartford HealthCare, its clinicians and its patients—and, together, MSK and HHC can evolve with the ever-changing practice of oncology,” said Dr. Thompson.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center with more than 125 years devoted to exceptional patient care, innovative research, and outstanding educational programs.