Meridian Cancer Care’s Multidisciplinary Approach to Patient Care

June 2013, Vol 4, No 5
Mark J. Krasna, MD
Corporate Medical Director of Oncology
Jersey Shore University Medical Center
Neptune, NJ

Corporate Medical Director of Oncology, Meridian Cancer Care, NJ

From the beginning, decisions about cancer treatment can be overwhelming. To help patients get back to the life and the people they love, Meridian Cancer Care offers every medical advantage. Medical collaboration is critical in the treatment of cancer. At Meridian Health, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists work together to provide the best treatment plan for patients with cancer.

Meridian Health, a leading not-for-profit healthcare organization in New Jersey—comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, Bayshore Community Hos­pital, and Meridian Partner Com­panies—is the first and only “system partner” of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ).

Meridian Health is unique, because it is an integrated, 6-hospital system, with outstanding interhospital communication. By utilizing systemwide resources and building on the strengths already existing at each site, our goal is to provide excellence in cancer evaluation and treatment, with the caring and personal attention that is so important to patients and their families.

Disease-Specific Multidisciplinary Program
Meridian Health recently launched a new systemwide disease-site–specific multidisciplinary program that is focused on elevating the level and the quality of care for patients. The renewed focus on a multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach provides opportunities for state-of-the-art care and research trials.

Over the past 1.5 years, Meridian Health has instituted 9 disease-site–specific multidisciplinary conferences, which allow physicians to prospectively discuss cases and to reach a consensus regarding what is ultimately the best treatment plan for each patient.

Focus on the Patient
For patients, the result is more comprehensive, coordinated care. Once the treatment plan is established, nurse navigators work side by side with the patient, providing support and guidance and coordinating their care through every step of the cancer journey. The nurse navigators are the “glue” that holds the team together and the “go-to” people for patients and their families at any time in their care.

Meridian Cancer Care has also recruited some of the top physician leaders in the country; the Thyroid Cancer Program, led by Alexander L. Shifrin, MD, will soon launch the first-ever multidisciplinary thyroid cancer clinic in the state of New Jersey. Over the past year, physicians at Meridian Cancer Care have published many articles and have shared their clinical knowledge in professional venues through meeting presentations, courses, and grand rounds.

Clinical Trials Portfolio
A dedicated cancer research team is responsible for the ongoing expansion of an oncology clinical trials portfolio. These include cooperative group trials, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group trials, Gynecologic Oncology Group trials, and trials in conjunction with CINJ (CINJ Oncology Group). In addition, industry trials and new investigator-initiated trials for clinical and translational research have recently begun. With the support and the efforts of Meridian’s oncologists, the goals for cancer research in 2012 were surpassed at all Meridian facilities.

Range of Services
Meridian Cancer Care offers a complete range of services, including screenings; diagnostic tests; medical, surgical, and radiation oncology treatment options; onsite cancer registry; and pre- and posttreatment support groups. Meridian Cancer Care’s hospitals have each received accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and commendation for their cancer programs.

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