A cancer diagnosis itself is overwhelming. Usually the next step is to make an appointment with a cancer doctor. But the practical side to making appointments, even second opinion appointments, may seem difficult. The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center staff understands this and tries to make the appointment process as easy as possible on patients, or on family members helping to arrange the appointment. Intake coordinators smooth the way by assembling all the past medical documentation a new patient has that relates to a cancer diagnosis.
There are 30 different clinics at the Cancer Center which focus on specific cancer types. Each clinic has an intake coordinator who is responsible for obtaining medical information for new patients. This helps to relieve some of the stress new patients and their families may experience leading up to that first appointment with a Cancer Center doctor.
What the intake coordinators will get from your doctor
- Medical records, progress notes, laboratory results, surgical operative notes, diagnostic imaging or staging evaluations, discharge summaries from any inpatient stays, primary care and specialty doctor consults, and any other documents relating to the diagnosis
- Radiology CD of hi tech imaging – plain radiographs, CAT/MRI/PET scans
- Original pathology slides documenting the diagnosis of cancer. Glass slides are what doctors look at under a microscope.
If you are newly diagnosed, the intake coordinator can obtain information from the doctor who performed the biopsy – a surgeon, radiologist or another type of doctor. For those seeking a second opinion, the coordinators will gather information from treating oncologists too.
When you call, it is helpful to have the following information
- Demographic information – patient name, date of birth, address, contact phone numbers and email address
- Insurance provider information – name, subscriber contract/identification number and phone number
- Primary care and treating doctor information, for example, any oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, urologist, dermatologist, etc. – names, addresses and phone numbers
The intake coordinators are trained in obtaining a patient’s medical records as quickly as possible. Their experience and hard work make it possible for most patients to get an appointment within one to two weeks. To begin the gathering process, they will require a release of information (ROI) form signed by the patient that gives permission to contact the doctors’ offices. The coordinators will discuss the many methods to get the form to the patient for signing, and back to the Cancer Center once signed.
Amanda Perez is the intake coordinator for the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic. Her job is to explain what types of records are needed prior to making the appointment and then get those records from doctors’ offices as rapidly as possible so patients can be seen quickly. She makes sure that patients have her name and phone number and she encourages them to call back at any time with more questions. But her personal goal is to do more than that.
“I believe attitude makes a difference with helping patients and families. Kindness goes a long way. You never know what a kind word can do for a patient who has received bad news. They need our help to make the appointment and move forward with their care, and I am honored to help,” Amanda says.
Take the next step:
- Learn more about the services available at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center that offer support to patients and families.
- Get tips on how to tell children about your — or another family member’s — diagnosis.
- Learn more about the Cancer Center Education Clinic: Diagnosis First Treatment Next.
- Learn how to face the challenge of cancer treatment on your own
Still have questions? Call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.
The Cancer AnswerLine™ nurses are experienced in oncology care, including helping patients and their families who have questions about cancer. These registered oncology nurses are available by calling 800-865-1125 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Your call is always free and confidential.
The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.