Ochsner Health leads the way in Louisiana cancer care with sophisticated treatment plans | Sponsored: Ochsner Health

A cancer diagnosis is frightening for patients and their loved ones. But at Ochsner Health, physicians, nurses and support personnel help guide families through a personalized care plan while keeping them close to home.

In Baton Rouge, Ochsner has two cancer centers, one at its O’Neal campus off of I-12 and a second at Ochsner Medical Complex – The Grove off of I-10 near the Mall of Louisiana, and sees cancer patients at its health center in Prairieville. However, Ochsner’s extensive network of physicians and facilities means patients can work with cancer specialists in all areas of the state.

“We treat all types of cancers, and with the depth of our organization, we treat patients with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery and bone marrow transplants. We also have a very robust pediatric cancer program,” said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of Ochsner’s Department of Hematology/Oncology and chief of staff at Ochsner Medical Center Baton Rouge.

“Most people don’t think about what level of care they need until after a cancer diagnosis, but there are so many other things that patients require besides an oncologist and possibly a cancer-specific specialist,” Brooks added. “We are fortunate to have cancer surgical specialists that include colorectal, urologic, thoracic, gynecologic, surgical oncology, bone marrow transplant, breast, ENT and Mohs skin cancer.”






The Mohs Surgery Suite is located on the fourth floor of Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge.




Ochsner also offers cancer patients support services to address nutrition, pain management, emotional needs, cardiology, palliative care and more. With a suspected cancer diagnosis, time is crucial in quick access for new patients – which Ochsner has – and the ability to receive additional, connected services.

“Cancer affects not only the person, but the entire family and support system,” Brooks said. ” When a person comes to us, we ask them to answer questions to focus on what they need from us. That might be financial support, transportation, spiritual support, or something else. They may need to modify their diet while in treatment and remission to decrease their chance of cancer recurrence. We offer coordinated care which results in accelerated speed of treatment.”

Brooks said a critical aspect of cancer care at Ochsner is ensuring that all team members communicate regularly with each other and the patient. Thanks to sophisticated electronic medical records, everyone on a patient’s care team sees the same notes, test results and observations, meaning treatment is seamless and organized.

“We are very blessed to have a coordinated approach to taking care of patients,” Brooks said. “Our use of Epic medical records has really been a gamechanger. Patients can be treated by different specialists very quickly and without delay. There is no need to run across town requesting copies of your medical records for the next appointment because we already have them. That’s the beauty of being on such a sophisticated system.”

Ochsner’s use of technology means many visits are done virtually or through video calls, reducing patients’ travel time and letting relatives from different locations join. Ochsner patients can also access a program called Chemotherapy Care Companion that includes a digital thermometer, scale and blood pressure monitor. Vital signs are transmitted daily from a patient’s home. If data is outside an acceptable range, the care team receives automatic alerts for review.






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Patients can take their blood pressure at home using technology that submits the results automatically to their doctor through Ochsner Digital Medicine.




In addition, Ochsner has access to more clinical trials than any other health system in Louisiana. Once a patient’s information is in the electronic system, Ochsner nurses and researchers can see if that patient qualifies for a research trial.

Brooks said that same data helps Ochsner physicians use precision medicine on cancer patients. Doctors analyze a patient’s genetics and tumor makeup to identify potential targeted therapies using this method.

“This is something we would not have normally done 20 years ago, but now it’s something we do across our system,” Brooks said. “We’re performing research to understand the genetics of why people get cancer.”

Brooks said that no matter the type of cancer or treatment plan, Ochsner’s team approach and depth of experience sets it apart. Physicians from across the system meet regularly to review information about patients before starting their treatment.

“I think when someone comes to Ochsner, they are going to have many people available to review their disease and make a recommendation based on extensive training and expertise,” he said. “Together, we work as a system to make the best possible recommendations for patients.”

For more on Ochsner Health’s cancer services, visit www.ochsner.org/services/cancer-care.

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By Betty C. Giordano

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