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From Diagnosis to Defense: HN1's Melanoma Recall Initiative

Health Network One
Published on: 12-04-2023

In the dynamic world of healthcare, proactivity is the key to ensuring patient well-being. Health Network One, under the guidance of its Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Edward Cabrera, has introduced an innovative Melanoma Recall System. The system, launched in January, began as a pilot with a few health plans but has since expanded into a full-scale initiative. 

The motivation behind this initiative is deeply rooted in patient care concerns.

"Tragically, some patients who receive initial treatment for melanoma don't come back," said Dr. Cabrera. "They get lost. Some return years later with metastasized cancer — and it's a disaster."

Melanoma is a Beast

Melanoma is the most invasive skin cancer with the highest risk of death — and it's fast; it can become life-threatening in as little as six weeks.

While melanoma is less common than other skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), it's significantly more
dangerous because of its ability to spread to other organs more rapidly if it's not treated at an early stage.

The American Cancer Society's website predicts a staggering number of new melanoma diagnoses in the United States for 2023:

  • About 97,610 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 58,120 in men and 39,490 in women).
  • About 7,990 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 5,420 men and 2,570 women).

According to Surgical oncology clinics of North America, as many as half of all patients treated for melanoma will have a recurrence.1

Ideally, a patient who received melanoma treatment will follow up every three months. After a year, follow ups may be extended to every six months, and after another year, only annual visits may be required — depending on the individual's stage and risk that the cancer will return. Doctors usually suggest that people with a history of skin cancer have a skin exam at least once a year for the rest of their lives.

Observing a gap in follow-up care, Health Network One developed The Melanoma Recall System to ensure patients don't fall through the cracks and that the opportunity to enhance care isn't overlooked.

But how exactly does this recall system function?

It begins with a retrospective look at patients diagnosed with melanoma. The team checks to see if these patients had a medical consultation within 12 months. If there's a gap, the information is promptly communicated to the health plan. The medical director and case management teams, including the nursing staff, are then informed about the patient's last visit, prompting them to reach out to the patient and urge them to schedule an appointment with their provider.

“The overarching goal of this initiative is to enhance patient care,” said Dr. Cabrera.

Feedback on the system has been overwhelmingly positive. This extra step in patient care communication is viewed as a refreshing change by many. Some feedback revealed instances where members had seen another dermatologist outside of the network. Still, the essential goal remains – ensuring every patient is seen by a medical professional for a follow-up.

"Follow-up is critical after melanoma treatment," said Dr. Cabrera. "Sometimes, post-melanoma removal, patients may feel they're cured. However, consistent monitoring is essential, much like the follow-ups required after mammograms. This system is not only about continuity of care but also about preventing complications down the line. It's a testament to Health Network One's commitment to pioneering enhanced healthcare practices for the benefit of patients."


1. Rueth, N. M., Cromwell, K. D., & Cormier, J. N. (2015). Long-term follow-up for melanoma patients: is there any evidence of a benefit?. Surgical oncology clinics of North America, 24(2), 359–377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soc.2014.12.01