In his earliest days as a surgeon specialized in treating breast cancer, Dr. Stephen Edge was fascinated by disparities in cancer care.
“In my first practice, I saw many people who came to the cancer center where I was working who received wonderful care from community providers, but also others who had not received the same quality of care,” he said. “I realized everybody deserves to get good care and that we needed to better understand what constituted good care.”
He’s since devoted much of his career to researching everything from using claims data linked to hospital registry data to improve evaluation of the quality of breast cancer care to the role of patient preferences and interactions with physicians in cancer care outcomes. Edge is passionate about finding innovative ways to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Edge, who will take the helm of the Baptist Cancer Center in July, says he was attracted to the position because of the opportunity to research and implement new ways to deliver patient-centered cancer care that is both high value and high quality. Edge said The Cancer Center’s academic affiliation with Vanderbilt University will pave the way for joint quality initiatives, more clinical research and developing better treatment standards.
“The old model where a patient goes to an individual doctor for all of their care has changed,” he said. “But we still don’t know what the best new models are and the best way to deliver care.”
On June 10, Baptist Memorial Health Care will break ground on an $84.8 million Cancer Center near the Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis campus that is slated to open mid-2015. Edge will oversee the construction and the continued development of the integrated center for cancer services that will make care more efficient and convenient for Mid-South patients. Baptist also is building a cancer center in Jonesboro, Ark.
The Baptist Cancer Center will offer diagnostics, radiation oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services, Cyberknife (a non-invasive treatment for tumors), stem cell transplants and supportive services and survivorship care.
According to data from the Memphis chapter of the American Cancer Society, 35,610 new cancer cases were diagnosed in Tennessee in 2012, a figure that is expected to grow in the next few years.
“I am excited about seeing the organization grow. While the new building is going to be one of the key components, the Baptist Cancer Center is much more than the building. It will allow us to bring together all disciplines to make cancer care more efficient and effective for patients.”
–Dr. Stephen Edge
Director, Baptist Cancer Center
As Edge winds down his current position – the Alfiero Foundation Endowed Chair in Breast Oncology and medical director of the Breast Center at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., – he’s reading a book called “The First 90 Days” to prepare for the new challenges ahead.
“The large majority of doctors and nurses are striving to, and already do a really good job of delivering care,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to make the Baptist system one of the nation’s best integrated and patient-driven systems in the nation.”
The Baptist Cancer Center also will have integrated electronic health records developed by Madison, Wis.–based Epic Systems, he said. That will allow a Baptist-affiliated doctor in Memphis to easily pull up the health history and records for a cancer patient in Oxford, Miss., who comes to Memphis for care.
Patients also will be able to easily access clinical information and follow their treatment plans. Electronic record systems can track and analyze information in ways that paper files can’t – creating new opportunities to deliver care, Edge said.
In his new role, Edge also will build upon Baptist’s relationship with Vanderbilt University. The two institutions will partner to translate advances in mapping the genomes of cancer tumors into improved treatments and care plans.
“It’s getting to the point where they can find a specific detect in a person’s cancer, which can then be targeted to treat the cancer more effectively,” Edge said.
Sean Henneberger, associate executive director of the American Cancer Society’s Memphis office, says the Baptist integrated cancer center model will help make care more efficient and convenient for Mid-South patients.
While the new job will keep Edge busy, he’s also looking forward to hitting the bicycle trails and taking advantage of the city’s musical heritage. His daughter is a professional violist and he loves classical music.
“I am excited about seeing the organization grow,” he said. “While the new building is going to be one of the key components, the Baptist Cancer Center is much more than the building. It will allow us to bring together all disciplines to make cancer care more efficient and effective for patients.”