A journey to better men’s healthcare

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Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) had identified a need to establish a Regional Comprehensive Men’s Health Program. Male health needs such as disorders of the urinary tract, prostate cancer, and sexual dysfunction have not been well serviced in the Erie St. Clair LHIN.

There has been no simple pathway from the family physician, to a specialist, to treatment.  This lack of coordination has resulted in long wait times from suspicion to treatment and approximately 50 per cent of prostate cancer patients currently have surgery outside of our region.

A proposal for a Regional Comprehensive Men’s Health Program (RCMHP) was created by local urologists, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and clinical leaders and submitted in April 2010 to the MoHLTC.  It includes the establishment of a Prostate Diagnostic Assessment Program (DAP) and also incorporates the latest technology – a da Vinci® Robotic Platform and improvements to our lab equipment.

During a media conference September 6, 2011 at WRH we received great news  – the MoHLTC announced its support for the operational funding. In July of 2012, we launched the Prostate DAP, which includes: 

-An experienced, knowledgeable and caring Nurse Navigator assists patients from the suspicion phase through diagnostic workup and treatment decision; 

-Decision Aid Tools are used to assist patients to make the right decision for them;

-Surgical and radiation consults are held within 14 days of each other giving the patient the best access and choice;

-Prioritized Diagnostic Imaging appointments are secured to coordinate and streamline testing.

Highlights of some of the benefits:

• 89% of newly diagnosed patients now receive a radiation consult prior to their treatment decision and 87% within 14 days of referral;

• 84% of patients reported that the decision aid tools assisted them a great deal to make their treatment decision;

• 89% of patients have comfort in making their treatment decision; 95% are satisfied with their treatment decision;

• Healthcare Providers expressed a high level of overall satisfaction with the ability of the program to assist patients to make their treatment decision, and observed higher patient satisfaction throughout the process;  (4.6/5)

And in February 2013 we implemented a DAP Electronic Pathway Solution in all hospitals across our LHIN – a first in Ontario. The DAP-EPS is an interactive website providing our patients, DAP staff and health care providers with shared information and support. Patients can view and keep track of their appointments, view a Diagnostic Pathway Map, keep track of their care team by viewing a list of all doctors involved in their care, and invite family and friends to be a part of their care team allowing them to view and track their medical information, appointments and procedures.

For our health care providers, the DAP-EPS helps them access their patient’s appointments and referral, see whether their patient’s test results are available, and view their patient’s diagnostic progress and next steps.

 

The next and final step in our journey to complete the RCMHP is The da Vinci® Surgical Robot System. It allows for decreased length of stays in hospital, increased capacity to perform more surgeries, better patient outcomes and an increase in quality of life.  Improvements to our lab equipment, another critical element, will provide better diagnostics for all cancer sites and will benefit both men and women in our region.

In June 2012 The Windsor & Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation launched a $4 million “It’s In Your Jeans” campaign to raise the funds for the capital needs.  With the remarkable dedication of their staff and board, and support of a very engaged and generous community they have thus far raised 88 per cent of that goal: $3.5 million in only 16 months.

Two of Windsor Regional Hospital’s Urologists, Dr. Tom Deklaj and Dr. Raj Goel have had extensive training on the robotic surgery platform. “The robotic platform will reduce post surgery complications and decrease hospital length of stays,” says Dr. Deklaj. “Coupled with the coordinated care this program offers, we will soon have one of the best Men’s Health Programs in the Province.”