Cancer Network of West Michigan leverages benefits, expertise of Michigan Medicine

December 17, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,
Clifford Cho, M.D.

Since March, Michigan Medicine has had to suspend many projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of those are slowly ramping back up, one is charging full steam ahead.

The Cancer Network of West Michigan — a collaboration between Mercy Health and Metro Health-University of Michigan Health, with assistance from Michigan Medicine — is designed to leverage combined resources and capabilities from each partner to enhance patient care and treatment.

“The thing that excites me the most about the Cancer Network of West Michigan is its scale,” said Clifford Cho, M.D., professor of surgery at Michigan Medicine and interim executive medical director of the network. “By combining the people and resources of three long-standing and well-respected hospital systems into one unified effort, the network is a chance to create a new level of care and patient experience for the entire region of West Michigan.”

What’s in it for patients

Patients on the west side of the state will benefit from cancer care delivered by providers and resources from three hospital systems working in full collaboration and cooperation with one another. Patients will also benefit from a connection to Michigan Medicine and the Rogel Cancer Center, gaining access to advanced clinical trials, emerging best practices and renowned research expertise.

How will such access occur? Through improved clinical integration at Mercy Health and Metro Health locations.

“Our groups are working together to reconnect patients to the cancer care they need during this pandemic,” Cho said. “We are determining how to best work through our clinical back-log and finding opportunities to ‘reset’ cancer care in even more patient-centered ways.”

Improved collaboration

The clinical integration has increased collaboration among providers in several critical areas.

“Our new shared tumor board conferences are witnessing new exchanges of ideas and expertise that are delivering cutting edge, multidisciplinary, specialized cancer care for people with cancer in West Michigan,” Cho said. “The Cancer Network is, fundamentally, a way to replace competition with collaboration. The resulting and unprecedented scale of patients, resources and expertise is generating great excitement among providers whose practices touch the lives of cancer patients.”

Cho said his team is receiving tremendous interest from providers who want to participate in this transformation. 

“The Cancer Network is also enabling us to successfully recruit new subspecialty cancer providers who will provide the full array of cutting-edge, research-driven, multidisciplinary cancer care to the region,” Cho said.

In the coming months, the network is looking to connect with communities and help patients access the advanced care available to them.

“Michigan Medicine is delivering on its mission to help elevate the quality of health care for people throughout our state,” Cho said. “Our team members should know that the impact they are having extends so far beyond our hospital walls, and they would be so proud of the many new teammates they now have in the Cancer Network of West Michigan.”