In 2011, Michael Kanter, MD, and Joanne Schottinger, MD, created an initiative for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region called “The Moonshot Goal–In Ten Years, Reduce Colorectal Cancer Mortality in Half.” A decade later, their efforts are now being recognized by the organization for having saved hundreds of lives and growing to serve more than 1 million eligible patients.
Kanter, KPSOM Chair of Clinical Science, and Schottinger, KPSOM Associate Professor of Health Systems Science, along with two other KPSOM faculty involved in the project ─ Ali Ghobadi, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Science and Kerry Litman, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Science ─ are among the team members to receive the 2020 Vohs Quality Regional Award from Kaiser Permanente Southern California during a virtual ceremony on December 3, 2021. (The 2020 awards were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Vohs award recognizes projects that exemplify Kaiser Permanente’s focus on providing high-quality, affordable care, and its recipients have implemented successful practices and developed knowledge that can be shared across the organization.
The Moonshot program has introduced several evidence‐based interventions across the continuum of cancer care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. Drawing on Kaiser Permanente’s strengths in cancer care, which include an integrated care team, electronic health record, longstanding member relationships, and being a learning health system, the Moonshot has increased screening rates, shortened timelines for diagnosis and treatment, reduced diagnostic errors, and improved ongoing monitoring of survivors, among other care innovations. In the six years following launch, colorectal cancer mortality was down 23 percent among Kaiser Permanente patients in Southern California, according to the organization.
Measuring colon cancer mortality on a population basis under the Moonshot program rather than the more traditional five-year survival rates has allowed the organization to have a broader and more comprehensive approach. The Moonshot program was able to focus on many system-based aspects of care, such as timely access to chemotherapy, surveillance rates after treatment, and referral to surgical oncology. The learnings and new innovative methods garnered from this work are now being adopted in other Kaiser Permanente regions and are being used in the treatment and mortality reduction of other, similarly deadly diseases, such as lung cancer, kidney failure, and diabetes.