Cancer is a growing challenge for society. Its incidence increases with the aging of the population and it becomes a chronic disease. In addition to the improvement of conventional treatments, innovative therapies (immunotherapy, targeted therapies) are emerging. Beyond survival, quality of life and costs become important issues. To meet these challenges, academic hospitals develop cancer centers, integrating multidisciplinary quality care management, clinical / translational research and teaching. A focus on patient and innovation allows us to form genuine networks, in which cooperation prevails over a sterile competition.

Our teams are committed to provide compassionate and quality care to Euregio patients by continually improving services.

WP 1 – Patient-centered Medicine

This action focuses on innovation and the strengthening of patient-centered medicine in the Meuse-Rhine Euregio, with the university centers of Aachen, Liège and Maastricht working closely with the Hasselt hospital center. Thus, this WP aims at implementing tools for improving evidence-based yet personalized decision making, incorporating patient-reported outcome measurements, and bringing the hospital to the patients’ homes. This first axis encompasses 3 densely connected sub-actions, emphasizing the importance of communication and interpersonal networks:

  • Action 1 – Teleconsulting: (1) Provide an innovative and professional means for physicians to discuss the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of patients in oncology; (2) Pioneer patient participation in selected teleconferences to promote patient empowerment

  • Action 2 – PROM: Development of an application for a systematic analysis of the patient’s perspective on the oncological care and treatment and comparing this to the views of physicians

  • Action 3 – Home Hospitalization: Transfer of the critical parts of specialized oncological care, usually performed in the hospital, to the home of the patient

WP 2 – Quality of care

The healthcare sector is evolving towards an integrated organization of quality management (QM) and assessment. A structured step-by-step approach, inspired by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), with local experiences, would accelerate cultural change and promote transparency. Despite the differences between the 3 countries for patient care and access to some treatment modalities, a comparative QM system has to be established in the different hospitals. Cornerstones of a QM program are registries, IT management tools and certifications. Furthermore, management of hematopoietic cell transplantation is a very complex activity involving the interaction of many partners. A large number of data are regularly collected from the same patients for multiple purposes. Developing modern and integrated management software would be an innovative development for transplant centers, greatly improving the quality management of this activity for the benefit of patients.

WP 3 – Access to innovative medicine

Quality-controlled, guideline-based state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment are key to optimized care. As a consequence, local / regional practice and expertise will continuously need to be adapted to changes related to innovations or gain of knowledge incorporated into (inter)national guidelines. Each cancer center must periodically generate and update its own guidelines and care pathways, a difficulty that often leads to an incomplete and obsolete catalog. On the other hand, access to the most innovative treatments is initially restricted to patients who participate in clinical trials (CT), whereas access to the reimbursed routine treatments is only realized after years of clinical investigation. Currently, the visibility of CT is limited and patient access to innovative treatment is not optimal. 2 actions will be set-up to overcome these issues:

  • Action 1 – Care pathways: new approach to (1) share a common library of guidelines and (2) set-up a cross-border platform to facilitate the generation of a cross-regional clinical pathways

  • Action 2 – Clinical trial platform: Development of a shared IT tool/common platform with available and searchable innovative diagnostic and/or interventional clinical trials for patients and doctors.