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West Cancer Center, Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium and Rabble Health Announce new initiative

New partnership to address disparities and enhance the quality of breast cancer care at Memphis-based West Cancer Center & Research Institute
Credit: West Cancer Center & Research Institute

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Results from a partnership to address disparities and enhance the quality of breast cancer care at Memphis-based West Cancer Center & Research Institute were announced today. The program is sponsored by Amgen.

"Our goal is to reduce breast cancer-related mortality disparity rates of Black women in the Memphis area, where the current disparity rate is approximately 70 percent – which means that Black women are dying from breast cancer at approximately three times the rate of White women," said Carla Baker, COO, at Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium (MBCC), adding "By developing a patient centric care pathway, MBCC plans to systematically address the root causes of disparities.

The creation of the Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium (MBCC) in 2016 marked the first phase of an innovative, comprehensive, aligned, and intentional community-wide effort to address the higher mortality rates of Black women versus Caucasian women in the Memphis metropolitan area.

MBCC currently represents 38 member organizations including survivor groups, consumer advocacy groups, health systems, universities, health plans, the Shelby County Health Department, and the Tennessee Department of Health.

The purpose of the Care Pathway Initiative was to conduct baseline quality metrics of variation in care with the overall aim to enhance quality of care. Rabble Health, a digital patient engagement company, conducted the assessment of 81 breast patients regarding their ability to receive optimal care and services. Following the baseline assessment, solutions to improve health literacy and patient empowerment were highlighted, including the myRabble™ digital patient engagement platform.

"The data from Margaret West Comprehensive Cancer Center, a facet of West Cancer Center, was remarkable", said Aubrey Kelly, CEO of Rabble Health, adding, "As a full-service institution, many breast cancer patients treated at West were able to have a mammogram and biopsy the same day if needed. In cancer, every day counts, and patients should be provided the tools and resources to connect, understand their options, communicate goals of care, and manage through their diagnosis. Care pathway efficiencies can translate to optimized care and potentially improved outcomes."

Preliminary findings include a call to action for breast centers to address disparities in care by measuring adherence and improvements in quality measures and health literacy.

Dr. Gregory Vidal, MD, PhD, a breast medical oncologist at West, shared "To make a significant impact in health care disparities, our health care institutions have to take an unbiased look at their data, polices and practices. We are pleased to see independent data confirming the exceptional service we provide for all our West Cancer Center patients. We hope this approach can be replicated at other institutions to help address disparities in care across our beloved city."

Following these findings, the West Cancer Center is excited to continue the care pathway analysis and embark on key patient education and engagement solutions to improve health literacy and shared decision making.

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