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Volume 25

Number 7

April 4, 2014

OncoLink celebrates 20 Years of Helping Millions! Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

We’ve educated over 40 million people in the last 20 years. That’s an amazing accomplishment. I challenge anyone to find another project that has touched the lives of so many people. — James Metz, MD

`` Members of the OncoLink team, past and present.

When OncoLink was launched in 1994, the Internet was uncharted territory. In fact, as OncoLink editor James Metz, MD, of Radiation Oncology, told those attending last month’s 20th anniversary celebration, “most people didn’t even know what the Internet was.” Indeed, in 1994, there were about 30,000 domains on the Internet. Today, that figure stands at nearly one billion! But Joel Goldwein, MD, adjunct professor of Radiation Oncology, who created Penn’s award-winning cancer website, had “tremendous vision,” Metz said. (Goldwein is now an executive at Elekta, a health-care technology company). “Joel told Penn’s leaders at the time, ‘We can connect people with this, build a community.’’ And he was right. OncoLink was an instant hit. The first month it received over 30,000 hits. Today, OncoLink remains one of the most trusted sources of cancer information on the web. It reaches two million new users a year. The National Library of Medicine has consistently named the site one of its top 10 cancer websites.

Inside Taking Time of Out to Talk...........2 Impressions Philadelphia Photography Contest................2 Roundtable.................................3 UPHS Annual Open Enrollment Free Skin Coming Soon!.......3 Cancer Screening......................3 Help Save Lives. Be an Organ Donor..............................3 Partners in Rehab......................4 The Million Dollar Bike Ride.....3 Shortakes...................................4 Navigating Health-Care Changes is Becoming a LIttle Easier.........4

Providing Information People Want and Need OncoLink started out as a source of links to other cancer information on the web, but soon after its debut, its team of doctors and nurses began writing their own copy for the site. The current OncoLink team still follows that approach. “All of the information is customized for OncoLink, written by practitioners and experts in the field,” said Maggie Hampshire, BSN, OCN, OncoLink’s managing editor, who oversees the site with Metz and Carolyn Vachani, MSN, OncoLink’s nurse educator. Today’s volunteer contributors come from many professions, including physicians, nurses, social workers, dietitians, and physical and occupational therapists, as well as cancer survivors. (Continued on page 2)


(Continued from cover)

“The information on OncoLink is provided by people who work with cancer patients every day or have been there themselves,” Vachani said. “They know what people want and need to get through the experience. This is what sets us apart from other cancer sites.” Although OncoLink has received financial support from industry, the money has always come “with no strings attached,” Hampshire said. “We have never allowed others to have editorial control over our content.” Over the years, OncoLink’s ability to stay ahead of the crowd has rested not only on the type of information it provides but also how it’s provided. For example, the original “Ask the Experts,” in which the team provided answers to emailed questions, morphed into webchats. “People want instant responses to their questions today,” Hampshire said. Vachani and Hampshire pull together the monthly discussions, each of which features experts speaking and answering questions on a common concern for cancer patients. People can watch the chats live or can watch videos online at any time. When nurses (who represent nearly half of the site’s users) told Vachani that finding and printing out all the information they wanted for patients was time consuming, the team created OncoLink’s Treatment Binder. “Nurses simply click on the Treatment Binder link and check off all the information they want to give the patient. OncoLink pulls it together and prints it as one document,” Vachani said. And the increase of people using mobile devices to surf the web led to a new responsive web design, Hampshire said. “People often missed features that weren’t readily visible on very small screens. Now the site automatically resizes to any size screen.”

The Future of OncoLink OncoLink will continue to move ahead, Metz said. “We’re looking at ways to provide more personalized information for individuals, not just general content.”

The team also wants to spread OncoLink’s information beyond its site by “populating other sites with our information,” Metz said, for example, by providing content for pharmaceutical companies or equipment manufacturers. “Many companies use copy written by ad agencies or marketing but it’s not always patient friendly,” Vachani said. “People are not getting the oncology content they need, at the right level.” They’re also working on integrating the OncoLink customized survivorship care plan program with EPIC so it would automatically populate a patient’s medical record rather than requiring the care provider to fill out the entire questionnaire. This customized plan helps survivors and their health-care providers overcome the medical and psychosocial problems that may arise post treatment. At the 20th anniversary celebration, Metz presented Goldwein with the OncoLink Visionary Award. Goldwein noted that getting OncoLink up and running 20 years ago was truly “a team effort. So many people worked very hard to get it going. “You don’t do something like this because you’re paid to do it,” he continued. “You do it because it’s a passion of yours.” Clearly the passion is still there.

Thinking Outside the Box OncoLink was ahead of its time when it was launched in 1994 and it has continued to take the lead and think outside the box over the past 20 years. OncoLink was the first cancer website to:

• Provide same-day reporting

from professional meetings for physicians.

• Use an online, IRB-approved

electronic consent form for a study.

• Be translated into Spanish (in the U.S.).

• Have a clinical trials matching program.

• Develop a personalized cancer survivorship care program.

• Create a cancer risk

assessment tool encompassing all cancers.

“Impressions of Philadelphia” Photography Contest Penn Medicine, in partnership with the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, has launched an opportunity for photographers to have their work displayed in a unique setting. Up to 25 images depicting the theme “Impressions of Philadelphia” will be selected for a large-format wall display (approximately 19x19 feet) in public concourse areas of the new Pavilion for Advanced Care at PPMC. Installations will be a permanent element to the interior design of the Pavilion. Submissions should capture elements of local landscape, architecture, or objects with artistic composition. Preference will be given to unique, not necessarily iconic, images. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2014. For more information on the contest, guidelines and submission criteria, please visit


UPHS Annual Open Enrollment //// C o m in g

S o o n !

The 2014 Open Enrollment runs from Monday, April 14 through Sunday, April 27. This year’s enrollment is an active enrollment which means you must make an active election during the enrollment period.

Earned Premium Discount Extended to Covered Dependents (ages 18-26)

To earn the premium discount, any eligible dependent must not use tobacco or be enrolled in a tobacco cessation program by June 30, 2014. You must first certify as to your tobacco use and that of your dependents and then select the tobacco user or non-tobacco user medical contribution. You must make an active election to receive the earned premium discount. Otherwise, you will pay higher medical contributions.

Quit Tobacco Use with the Help of Health Advocate

Enroll in Health Advocate’s free tobacco cessation program to quit smoking or stop using other tobacco products with the help of a trained coach. This program allows you and your covered dependents 13 weeks of counseling, free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and a $0 co-pay for over-the-counter NRT and prescription tobacco-cessation medications. All employees or dependents covered under a UPHS medical plan who use tobacco must enroll in the UPHS tobacco cessation program by June 30, 2014 to receive the earned premium discount. Call 866.695.8622 to get started today!

Earn a $150 Healthy Credit in the Healthy Rewards Program

Starting Monday, April 14**, the Healthy Rewards program will launch new and exciting challenges and activities for you to participate in. You can earn a $150 Healthy Credit when you:

• Complete the online Well-Being Assessment. • Know Your Numbers (blood sugar, total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL, blood pressure and BMI). • Earn a total of 1500 points.

You can access the Wellfocused Program by going to and clicking on the Healthy Rewards icon. Look for more information about the first-ever entity vs. entity walking competition, launching Monday, May 5. ** The current healthy rewards program year ends on 3/30. The site will be temporarily unavailable until 4/14 when the new program year opens.

//// Raffle for Free Health Care

Earn entry into a raffle for free health care for 2014-2015 when you complete the online Well-Being Assessment and record “Your Numbers” during Open Enrollment. There will be 10 lucky winners!

Help Save Lives. Be an Organ Donor. More than 120,000 people in the United States are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and time is running out. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 8,000 people are waiting for a transplant. Recently, UPHS joined the second phase of the HAP Donate Life Hospital Campaign as a Hospital Partner. Working with organ donation organizations, state associations in the health-care sector, and hospitals statewide, HAP hopes to increase the number of registered organ, eye, and tissue donors by May 14. We are asking our entire hospital community to help save lives by educating staff members, patients and their families, visitors, and the extended community on the critical need for organ donation and providing opportunities for people to sign up as organ, eye, and tissue donors. Joining the campaign is easy. If you aren’t already a donor, please take a few minutes today to add your name to our state’s donor registry. For more information or to register, please visit

There’s still time to sign up for the first annual Million Dollar Bike Ride on Saturday, May 3, to help raise money for rare disease research, organized by the Penn Center for Orphan Disease Research and Therapy and Rare Disease Cycling. The event starts and ends at Highline Park (31st and Chestnut) on Penn’s campus. There are 3 route options — 11, 35 and 73 miles. The ride starts at 9:00 am. Refreshments and entertainment at the start/finish line and fun for the entire family. , M ay 3 20 14 Satu rd ay,

To register, go to


Navigating Health Care Changes Is Becoming a Little Easier In 1751, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Bond founded the nation’s first public hospital to care for the “sick-poor and insane of Philadelphia.” The Pennsylvania Assembly told Franklin that if he could raise 2,000 pounds from private citizens, they would match the funding, expecting no chance of this money being raised. Franklin raised more than 2,000 pounds and went on to build Pennsylvania Hospital. All these years later, health-care costs are still a concern in this country. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, expands health-care coverage for many uninsured Americans, but navigating the nation’s new health law can be tough. Fortunately, this process is a little easier for some local residents, thanks to Johanne Louis, RN, MSN, CRNP, nurse practitioner in Geriatric Medicine, and her volunteer efforts with Better Health Network. BHN assists residents in underserved areas obtain access to health care and wellness services. “We recognized a need to help these communities understand health-care changes and the new insurance options,” said Jermaine Bromell, president and CEO of BHN. The organization partners with leaders from government and faith and community-based organizations to reach thousands of eligible uninsured residents of Philadelphia. Louis recently received a Penn Medicine CAREs grant to help fund a community event at the Church of Christian Compassion in West Philadelphia. The event included a demonstration by a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services, federal health-care navigators, and a computer lab where individuals could sign up for coverage or determine if they’re eligible.

`` Johanne Louis (r.) with Jermaine Bromell of Better Health Network and Julia Basak, who is shadowing her to prepare for medical school.

For more information on Penn Medicine CAREs and to apply for a CAREs grant, please visit The deadline for the next round of grants is June 1.

“As a nurse practitioner, I educate people on the need to manage their health,” said Louis. “Here’s an opportunity for more people to have access to a primary care provider who manages their care. People can now pursue the preventative care they need and avoid putting unnecessary strains on emergency rooms.” To learn more about BHN, go to

Do You Have an Advance Directive? National Health Care Decisions Day (NHDD) is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and educating the public on the importance of advance care planning. Talk with your loved ones and/or colleagues about your values and preferences for care if you were seriously ill and unable to direct your health-care team. On Wednesday, April 16, members of HUP’s Ethics Committee and Patient and Family Services will pass out information in the cafeteria and the Perelman Center. More information is available at

HUPdate Editorial Staff Sally Sapega Editor and Photographer Trissy Harding Designer


Susan E. Phillips Senior Vice President, Public Affairs

Come to learn more… Attending an All Employee Meeting is a great way to learn more about HUP and the Health System from hospital leaders.

All Employee Meetings are held in Medical Alumni Hall, on 1 Maloney.


Holly Auer Director of Communications

The next three will be held on: Tu  esday, April 8 8:30 to 9:30 am Tu  esday, May 6 Noon to 1:00 pm Tu  esday, June 3, 5:00 to 6:00 pm

Contact HUPdate at: 3535 Market Street, Mezzanine Philadelphia, PA 19104 phone: 215.662.4488 fax: 215.349.8312 email: HUPdate is published biweekly for HUP employees. Access HUPdate online at

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