Innovation Drives Orange County’s World-Renowned Cancer Care and Healthcare

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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By Bryan Starr, President and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber

Innovation is the key to Orange County’s exceptional healthcare and is what sets our healthcare and its delivery far apart from other parts of the nation and the world.

Patients accessing healthcare in Irvine, from routine maintenance to advanced disease treatment, receive top care delivered by some of the world’s most expert practitioners using the latest science and technology. The following are some of the ways Greater Irvine Chamber-partner healthcare institutions are at the leading edge of medical research and patient care in Irvine and Orange County.

Cancer Care

City of Hope, named the best cancer hospital in California by U.S. News and World Report, plans to invest $1 billion to develop and operate an Orange County regional cancer care network, featuring a world-class cancer campus of the future at FivePoint Gateway at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

The state-of-the-art cancer campus, opening in 2021, will include an outpatient center, a research center offering phase 1-3 clinical trials, personalized supportive care, and access to a wide range of world-renowned solid tumor and blood cancer specialists. Orange County’s only specialty hospital dedicated exclusively to treating and curing cancer will open in 2025.

City of Hope’s expansion into our county is meeting a pressing community need.  Despite their reputation for healthy living, Orange County residents have not beaten the 1 in 3 national statistic for cancer incidence, and about 20% of cancer patients leave the area for advanced treatment. Our healthcare systems are working to change that.

City of Hope, named one of just 51 comprehensive cancer centers in the country by the National Cancer Institute and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, is at the center of eradicating cancer. Four of the most commonly used cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution and it’s estimated  that more than 100 million people across the globe benefit from City of Hope’s discoveries.

An independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, City of Hope is a powerful research environment speeding the development of new drugs and interventions to the bedside, allowing patients to access the latest advances in cancer care, including approximately 500 clinical trials.

City of Hope is at the forefront of precision medicine, the leading edge of an exciting new area of cancer treatment. Cancer is fundamentally a mutation in a person’s genes. By learning as much as possible about those unique changes and developing specific drugs and therapies to target them, City of Hope’s physicians and scientists believe many cancers can be defeated at the molecular level, often with fewer side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy and other treatments.

Orange County residents can now access City of Hope’s world-renowned specialists without leaving our county. Last month, City of Hope opened its Newport Beach location, home to many of the nation’s leading clinician-scientists with highly-focused knowledge and unique cancer expertise. The location also offers an innovative Precision Prevention and Early Detection program to inform individuals of their risk factors for cancer based on state-of-the-art techniques such as genetic risk assessments, biomarker panels, and environmental exposure surveys.

Hoag has served Orange County for 70 years, and the Hoag Family Cancer Institute treats more than 18,000 Orange County cancer patients a year, with more than 4,000 new patients seeking Hoag for advanced cancer care. Hoag also continues to exceed national cancer survival rates, using innovative treatment approaches, as well as its numerous high-risk, early-detection, and prevention programs. In 2017, Hoag developed the Anita Erickson Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection Program, one of only a few pancreatic cancer early detection programs offered in the United States. This silent killer takes the lives of many patients, but Hoag is ensuring no cancer goes undetected through this program.

MemorialCare Cancer Institute treats thousands of patients annually using state-of-the-art radiation oncology, advanced surgical treatments, and support services including nutrition, genetic counseling, and social work at all MemorialCare hospitals. Multi-disciplinary teams meet frequently to discuss innovative treatment options for each newly diagnosed case, providing patients the best possible plan for their care.

MemorialCarehas a large and growing network of breast screening and diagnostic centers with eight locations and two more to open in early 2020. Last year, MemorialCare Breast Centers provided more than 80,000 screenings for breast cancer, including mammograms and MRI scans. MemorialCare Breast Centers exceed national benchmark quality metrics, ensuring that patients receive the most accurate diagnoses. The MemorialCare navigation program guides and supports patients through every step of diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

UCI Medical Center is currently the only facility in Orange County that treats and researches all forms of cancer. The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, located at UCI Medical Center in the heart of Orange County, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Orange County, treating more complex cases than any other healthcare provider in the region. UC Irvine is emerging as a national leader in integrative medicine, combining the university’s medical research, prevention, and the most advanced diagnostics, treatment, and rehabilitation programs with a world-class, multidisciplinary team of UCI Health surgeons and oncologists. UCI has one of the largest early-phase clinical research programs in Southern California, giving patients with cancers of all types and degrees of severity access to promising experimental medicines.

Residents of Irvine and surrounding communities will have the added convenience of receiving cancer treatment, and other medical care, in Irvine. The planned UCI Campus Medical Complex is expected to include a hospital, outpatient medical and surgery facilities, and emergency care. The estimated completion date for the ambulatory portion is 2024, with the hospital completion in 2026.

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence

MemorialCare offers a wide range of groundbreaking robotic technologies at each of its hospitals. MemorialCare surgeons have performed many thousands of minimally invasive surgical procedures, which result in reduced scarring, less pain, and shorter recovery times. MemorialCare is the region’s first health system to offer Mako, a device that enables robotic-assisted surgery for joint replacement procedures. Using GPS tools, MemorialCare combines navigation and robotic-assisted technology for minimally invasive spine surgery, and real-time, 3-D visual guidance in shoulder replacement surgery.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute was the first in Orange County to combine the advanced imaging capabilities of a cardiovascular lab with a fully-equipped operating room. In the Hybrid Surgical Suite, physicians can perform a range of advanced procedures from delicate catheter-based interventions to minimally invasive heart surgery. Recently, two nationally renowned cardiovascular surgeons joined the MemorialCare team. They are globally recognized for performing thousands of minimally invasive heart valve surgeries, bringing advanced care to the community.

Named a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery, Hoag continues to be one of the national leaders in robotic-assisted surgery having recently completed its 15,000th robotic surgery. Hoag was the first in Southern California to employ the technology and now has six da Vinci robots at its two hospital campuses. More than 40 Hoag physicians contribute to its nationally recognized robotics program.

Hoag's Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute is one of a select number of sites in the nation to treat patients with a minimally-invasive alternative to open-heart surgery for patients requiring aortic valve replacement. In 2019, the Institute became the first in Orange County to complete 500transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures.

Hoag is taking complex brain and spinal surgical procedures to new technological heights with the installment of two highly-advanced, fully-integrated brain and spineoperating room suites, featuring multipoint touch-screens displaying dozens of separate feeds including x-rays, MRIs, labs, and more. High-tech 3D surgical theater videos give surgeons immediate access to tools needed to successfully perform surgery. Its 7D machine-vision, image-guided surgery platform allows spine surgeons to guide their tools to the precise locations using camera technology linked to a computer in the operating room. Additionally, Hoag uses virtual reality for surgical planning and augmented reality for intraoperative visualization of critical brain structures. High-definition streaming technology facilitates live video broadcasts from doctors and experts around the globe, when necessary.

Kaiser Permanente’s Virtual Cardiac Rehab is a home-based program that utilizes a wearable device, a mobile app, and a clinical dashboard that provides data points in real time. 

Digital Medical Management

Orange County’s health systems are at the leading-edge in implementing digital technology that allows physicians and care providers to meet patients where they are.

MemorialCare was the first health system in the region to implement the EPIC electronic health record system across its care sites, which allows providers to have immediate access to a patient’s health and medical history, maximize clinical quality and patient outcomes at points of decision-making, reduce medical errors, and improve patient care. A digital platform allows patients to communicate with their providers, see their referrals/lab results, and pay their bills; and another displays current wait times at urgent care centers and allows patients to schedule online reservations.

Kaiser Permanente cares for more than 44, 575 Irvine residents. Through its virtual care program, an estimated 150,000 e-visits occurred locally last year, connecting patients with their doctors through mobile devices. Through its convenient Mail Order Pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente filled well over one million prescriptions last year for Orange County patients alone, saving them valuable time.

So what’s the bottom line? Orange County and Irvine are leading the way to ensure a healthy 21st century.

Category: Chamber News, Partner News, Member News, Healthcare, Life Sciences