The brand new R45m oncology unit is the first of its kind offering a unified care experience for cancer patients. The joint venture brings together industry expertise and clinical capabilities under one roof, all aimed at delivering a seamless patient experience.
The official opening was celebrated with a virtual launch and live broadcast from the unit to stakeholders across the country. It included a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Mediclinic Southern Africa CEO Koert Pretorius, Icon Oncology CEO Anthony Pedersen and the team of oncologists from Cancercare.
“Mediclinic is committed to expanding access to quality care for all South Africans, across the care continuum. For many years, we have been focused on how to practically broaden access to care from primary care, emergency medicine, step down facilities, mental wellness through to acute care and other supporting services – making the continuum of care a unified patient journey. Icon Oncology has pioneered the adoption of value-based-care in oncology – reducing waste of resources, ensuring better access to care and better outcomes for patients. We are united in our vision to deliver the right care at the right time, while providing value through better outcomes and patient experience. We are completely aligned in our vision to deliver a seamless patient journey to a growing number of patients,” says Pretorius.
The oncology centre includes radiation therapy and full-service chemotherapy services, which delivers an integrated patient experience. According to Pedersen, a multi-million rand stereotactic-enabled Varian Truebeam Linear Accelerator (Linac) ensures that patients can access the best possible radiation therapy technology and treatment within a single venue.
“Apart from the investment in technology, the full-service chemotherapy suite managed by Icon Oncology means we can do what we do best. This is to reduce wastage in the treatment process and deliver the best quality and most effective care at the most affordable prices, to our patients,” says Pedersen.
A cancer journey can span many years and can include treatment from surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and other specialists. Cancer patients can consult and receive expert care from the team of clinical and radiation oncologists who are already established at the hospital.
The Cancercare team of oncologists have a history at the Constantiaberg Mediclinic that goes back more than 20 years. “Today, we are celebrating a partnership and a homecoming; We have long aspired to once again have a fully functional and multi-disciplinary oncology unit at the hospital that puts the patient at the forefront of the treatment experience,” says Hanif Hamdulay, CFO/COO of Cancercare.
According to Dr Jill Harris, the team of Cancercare oncologists bring together multidisciplinary teams to consider each case, and to decide on a coordinated and clear course of treatment. “We are now able to offer a truly multi-disciplinary service in one venue. This means the patient journey which is often fragmented and confusing is now streamlined, seamless and accessible from diagnosis through their treatment to the survivorship part of our care. We have already had such positive feedback from patients who have moved over with us, expressing their appreciation of the new integrated unit.”
The new unit brings the patient back to the same point of care for each stage of treatment: “A patient who embarks on a cancer recovery treatment plan requires a range of expertise. That journey may start with their general practitioner, who may refer them to a surgeon for a biopsy, for example. They may need an oncologist and radiologist, further surgery, and courses of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If those consultations and treatments are uncoordinated, they can be inefficient and disruptive for the patient,” says Pedersen.
“When the process is not integrated, the patient is at risk of wasting money on repeated tests, and wasting time they may not have. We have streamlined that process, by bringing together experts and interactions under one roof and with one goal in mind. This unit represents far more than just an investment in technology and bricks and mortar. It is the culmination of a shared vision to improve the patient experience, control costs and to improve the quality and efficiency of their care,” explains Pedersen.
“It is our shared vision to create more of these one-stop oncology centres, such as the one hosted at Mediclinic Constantiaberg, in areas where these facilities are most needed. We look forward to our continued partnership to ensure more patients can receive the right care, at the right time and at the right price,” says Pedersen.
Koert Pretorius supports this vision: “I am excited about the potential of this relationship with Icon Oncology and their network partners Cancercare. By expanding these types of facilities, we can ensure more patients receive the best possible care, within an accommodating patient journey. Where value created reaches beyond just financial considerations, but in improved clinical outcomes and positive care experience.”