Saturday, February 27, 2010

Geo Health - V2.0

We were chatting this morning about how we'll select our oncologist. Our great network of friends and families have already jumped into action and have started looking around for oncologists that we should consider. As we were chatting about this over breakfast, we realized that this feels like we're about to put out an RFI/RFP for cancer treatment.

So, being the geeks that we are, we've decided to formalize this into a project - we're calling it Geo Health v2.0. Naming this will help us, I think. We can focus energy on it, work on it, but also have it bounded into some sort of box so we can continue to do the normal stuff of life. Plus, Susan is an awesome project manager so I'm excited about having her sink her teeth into this task! I will be the primary stakeholder and represent the business. And boy do I care about the project being successful...

So right now, we're developing the RFP that we'll be informally delivering to oncologists over the next couple of weeks. I suspect our questions will look like this:
  • How many Hodkins Lymphoma patients have you treated? 
  • Survival rates over 1, 5, 10 years? (I think we may be able to get this stuff from national cancer institute information). If anyone knows how to get this info, please post a comment!
  • Details of proposed diagnostics/treatment plan
  • Side effects of treatments. All things being equal, I'd sure like to minimize side effects. Of course, the main effect is to stay alive for a long time - will certainly trade a lot of side effects to fulfill requirement #1...
  • Logistics of treatment - how frequently, where, how long, etc. You don't want logistics to be a dominant selection criteria but on the other hand, the simple truth is that you do need to continue to function in the world while you're going through this stuff. 
  • Insurance implications. So far our insurance has been great but we obviously want to see any financial implications up front rather than be hit with them after the fact.
  • and since we're from Boulder County, we have to consider the soft stuff - how does the  place feel, how holistic an approach to they have, a focus on treating the entire person and not just disease progression.
So - if you've got any good oncologist references, drop me a note.

One other interesting note. I was talking to my ENT guy (Ear, Nose and Throat). I really like him. If you need an ENT for whatever reason, drop me a note and I'll send his contact info. Anyway, I was noting to him that there's a bigger non-Hodgkins than Hodgkins lymphoma patient population in the US so, surprise, surprise, the drug companies are putting more money into NH (non-Hodgkins) research, clinical trials, etc. So I was sort of thinking that you should really get a popular disease so you get leverage more research money focused on your health problem. He had an interesting, different perspective. His thought was that Hodgkins treaments were working, people had good survival rates, so the science/research was being put into more difficult disease areas. So his thought was that it was actually good to get a boring, treatable version. If you've got a disease that requires you to dip into clinical trial work to get the best outcome you're probably in a more risky proposition than a more well understood disease progression with good treatment options. So for now I'm going to think that way and take this as another positive sign of things to come...

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