As a practicing surgeon for 20-plus years, I know the word patients most fear is “cancer.” For years, Lifespan clinicians have provided outstanding care to patients diagnosed with cancer. Cutting-edge researchers, working side-by-side with world-class doctors and nurses, have ensured that our patients have been receiving the very best care —right here, close to home. On March 21, our treatment options became even more robust when Lifespan and the Lifespan Cancer Institute solidified an exclusive strategic alliance with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Let me highlight a few of the benefits of this alliance.

The vast majority of patients diagnosed with cancer will still receive the most advanced care right here at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. For the few patients who have rare or more complex cancers that require the expertise of Dana-Farber, the care will be coordinated between our two institutions in a much more seamless and integrated fashion. Because Lifespan and Dana-Farber happen to have the same electronic health records system, called Epic, there will be an opportunity to create processes for the seamless flow of information.

The alliance also allows patients to enroll in a broader range of clinical trials at Lifespan and Dana-Farber. This means Lifespan patients who enroll in a Dana-Farber clinical trial may respond well to a therapy that previously wasn’t available to them, and therapy provided in a Lifespan clinical trial may have the same effect on Dana-Farber patients. The long-term benefit is that larger and diverse enrollment accelerates clinical trials, meaning that treatments shown to be effective can be offered to all patients more quickly.

The alliance of Lifespan’s and Dana-Farber’s cancer institutes is an example of how healthcare has changed in recent years. Where once we saw competitors, we now see potential partners. Rather than trying to duplicate a specific area of expertise, such as the treatment of a very rare cancer, we are now more likely to partner with a facility offering that expertise. It’s good for our patients, who don’t have to worry about “the next step” but instead will progress seamlessly from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. It’s good for our patients, who benefit from care provided by physicians world-renowned in their specialty. It’s good for our patients, who can be confident they are receiving the very latest treatments, including those currently in clinical trials.

And did I mention it’s good for our patients?

Timothy J. Babineau, MD

Timothy J. Babineau, MD

Prior to his appointment as Lifespan’s president and chief executive officer, Timothy Babineau, MD served as president and chief executive officer of Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. Before coming to Rhode Island in 2008, he was the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical Center and School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. Before the 2005 appointment at the University of Maryland, Dr. Babineau held numerous administrative positions, including vice chairman of the division of surgery, surgical residency program director and director of the center for minimally invasive surgery at Boston Medical Center and surgeon-in-chief and medical director for the Boston Medical Center Surgical Associates at Quincy Medical Center. He has been a trustee for the University of Massachusetts and a member of its Audit and Finance Committee.