Becker's Oncology Virtual Forum: 4 Questions with Jasmine Ballard, Administrative Director at Levine Cancer Institute of Atrium Health

Jasmine Ballard serves as Administrative Director at Levine Cancer Institute of Atrium Health.

On August 25th, Jasmine will speak at Becker's Hospital Review Oncology Virtual Forum. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the virtual event, which will take place on August 25, 2020.

To learn more about the conference and Dr. Osunkwo's session, click here.

Question: What is the No. 1 concern you have for your practice amid the pandemic?

Jasmine Ballard: I suspect this may be similar in other service lines but my main concern is Community spread of COVID-19 and it’s impact on having a healthy/available healthcare workforce. Our teammates (of all disciplines) are a part of the community and may be subject to exposures in the community. While most are being conservative, it is impossible for many to not have exposure due to needing childcare or having a working spouse. Access to an experienced oncology clinical worker is hard to find in normal circumstances. It’s even more difficult during a pandemic. Fortunately, Levine Cancer Institute practices are a part of a large, multi-site system. We have been able to creatively shift teammates when needed, so far, but I am concerned about the Fall/Winter months.

Q: How have your priorities changed since the pandemic began?

JB: Each year, we typically engage in action items based on a strategic plan or operational goals that span over the long term. A good deal of our long term planning has been put on hold as we deal with day to day/week to week adjustments needed for COVID. We have definitely had to focus more on short term planning because there is so much unknown about the length of time we will be in the pandemic.

We also had to rethink our practice space and design space. I am in the middle of construction planning and we are rethinking our space design to accommodate different pandemic scenarios that could happen in the future.

Q: Where are the biggest opportunities in cancer care in 2020 and beyond?

JB: An area of opportunity in Cancer Care is continuing to deploy innovations to address healthcare disparities, access to early detection, and connecting patients in rural areas who live further away for the Academic medical centers in major metro areas. At LCI, we developed the first mobile lung cancer screening unit to address this issue. We strategically deployed the unit into rural and underserved areas to address this gap. Our healthcare system is a fully comprehensive system so getting a patient’s cancer detected early both helps their clinical prognosis and saves system costs.

Q: What is the most exciting clinical innovation in cancer care today?

JB: This is a tough one, as Oncology has rapid clinical innovations. As an Administrator, I would say the Pandemic escalated the use of video virtual care. In some cases, we have been able to expand access to supportive services and support groups further amongst our service area. As the infrastructure around virtual care expands, I look forward to building on the use of virtual care to creatively expand access, enhance the ability to monitor patients, and deploy wraparound/supportive services to patients in their home.

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