The Importance of Follow Up

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!

Follow up means following your patients on a continual basis after the completion of a course of treatment.  It is a basic, fundamental pillar in the delivery of superior healthcare, especially in a highly technical specialty such as radiation oncology.

In a field like radiation oncology where we use highly sophisticated technology to give powerful treatments, it is of the utmost importance to assess both their short and long term effects.  Having done this for over 30 years, I can attest to the safety and value of low dose daily radiation therapy compared to the current vogue of high dose short course radiation.

We are now learning that it is becoming extremely common for radiation oncologists to no longer follow their patients after a course of radiation treatment for cancer.

I believe that this is completely unacceptable.

Without the follow up of one’s patients, how does one adequately assess the quality, effectiveness, safety and overall outcome of care?  Without follow up how does one evaluate the quality of one’s program and continually improve it?  Most importantly, to repeat, what about the overwhelming importance of patient safety?

At Rahway Regional Cancer Center, we follow all our patients and have been doing so since we opened 30 years ago.  Our follow up program has played a major role in the creation of what is a clearly and vastly superior treatment program at Rahway Regional Cancer Center.

I sometimes get asked by other doctors and patients why I am so careful about following my patients.  My response is that it saves lives.

Eric Karp, MD
Founder and Director
Rahway Regional Cancer Center