Broadening Access to Crucial Health Care

In 2022, Camber began working alongside City of Hope to envision a robust model for supportive care services that provides comprehensive whole-person care for patients undergoing cancer treatment such as physical, practical, emotional and psychological, social, educational, and spiritual supports. We had the opportunity to build on that work in 2023, collaborating with the client to strategize how to potentially leverage technology to extend the supportive care services model beyond the City of Hope ecosystem

One of the key objectives of the project revolved around expanding supportive care access to underserved populations who face systemic socioeconomic, racial, or geographic barriers to care and often suffer inequitable and subpar health outcomes as a result. Such inequitable outcomes serve to compound the myriad injustices that typically characterize the under-resourced members of our society.

As a first step in exploring how to expand access to City of Hope’s supportive care model to all those in need, especially the underserved, Camber launched an extensive primary research campaign revolving around three key activities—convening an Advisory Board comprising supportive care subject matter experts; fielding a survey of cancer patients; and conducting focus groups with cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. While the strategic insights gleaned from the Advisory Board meetings, we facilitated were invaluable, it was imperative to balance the insights garnered from those who operate from a place of authority with those affected by cancer as patients and caregivers who often do not have a guaranteed seat at the table.

Camber thus placed great emphasis on ensuring that the content, structure, and delivery of the survey and focus groups was considerate of the circumstances of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers as well as designed to generate a deep understanding of a diverse set of needs. Given the sensitive nature of our primary research topic—living the cancer journey, from diagnosis to hopeful remission—we collaborated closely with the client to craft survey and focus group questions using appropriate and respectful language that provided the space for authentic sharing. To include the voices of non-English speakers, we worked alongside City of Hope to translate questions into Spanish; though Camber is cognizant that cancer is not limited solely to Spanish and English speakers, these two languages combined are spoken at home by ~90% of Americans. Finally, we sought to ensure that survey and focus group participants were representative of the US cancer population, especially with regards to their geographic, financial, and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Camber leveraged everything we learned from the survey and focus group participants to better understand the different barriers preventing people from benefiting from supportive care services as well as which services should be prioritized. We utilized this nuanced understanding to develop the overarching model for a digital supportive care services tool expressly designed to mitigate access barriers and provide those services deemed most in need and/or most impactful by our primary research participants. Our recent work with City of Hope reinforced the importance of employing an intentional approach to understanding and addressing health inequities that not only elevates the voice of those most impacted, but also is cognizant of the historical and social roots of those inequities—and the Camber US Health team is excited to continue to further build out and refine this approach through our 2024 project work.