Tag Archives: cancer care trends

Top Threats and Opportunities: Results from Trending Now in Cancer Care Survey

By Deirdre Saulet

Across the summer of 2017, the Oncology Roundtable partnered with the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) to survey cancer providers across the country to learn about their priorities, challenges, and top opportunities for growth. Over 290 respondents from 209 organizations participated in the survey. Non-teaching community hospitals comprised slightly over half of the respondents, while 21% were teaching hospitals and 16% were academic medical centers. The remaining respondents were independent practices, freestanding centers, and PPS-exempt cancer hospitals.

Survey respondents will receive their individual program-type cohort reports via email in the coming days. The full national report will soon be made available to all ACCC members  (member log in will be required). Keep reading for our initial takeaways.

Cost of treatment is the biggest threat to cancer program growth

When asked to identify the top three threats to future cancer program growth, 68% of respondents selected cost of drugs and/or new treatment modalities—clearly the number one threat. In comparison, only 47% selected the next ranked threat, physician alignment around services and program goals. Other top threats include changes in health care coverage, cuts to fee-for-service reimbursement, and shifting reimbursement towards value-based care.

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Competition increasing for majority of respondents

For the question above, marketplace competition was ranked sixth out of 12 response choices. Despite only 35% of respondents including it as a top-three threat to their growth, the majority of programs indicated that competition has increased in their market across the past two years.

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Clinical standardization and drugs are seen as biggest opportunities to save costs

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When asked to select the top three opportunities to save costs, respondents overwhelmingly pointed to clinical standardization and drugs.

These two options far outranked all other options—less than 30% of respondents selected the next-ranked options of supplies, capital expenses, and non-clinical staff.

To realize these two top opportunities, nearly 30% of respondents said they are planning to adopt clinical pathways for medical oncology, either vendor sponsored or homegrown, in the next two years.

Programs believe sub-specialists most likely to drive financial gains

To understand how cancer programs rank the profitability of different services, we asked respondents to select the three investment they believed would yield a positive return. Nearly 60% of respondents included increasing the number of sub-specialists, such as gynecologic oncologists and breast surgeons, in their response.

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In contrast, only 34% included increasing the number of general oncology physicians, indicating how much potential cancer programs see in physician specialization.

The second-highest ranked investment was marketing, reflecting the trend of cancer patients acting more like consumers and deciding where to receive their care. Next, nearly 36% of respondents ranked specialty pharmacy in their top three. In contrast, only 14% of respondents believe retail pharmacy will yield a return for their program.

In January 2018, ACCC members will be mailed a gatefold publication with Trending Now in Cancer Care survey highlights and key takeaways.

Guest blogger Deirdre Saulet is practice manager at The Advisory Board Company.
This blog is reprinted with permission.

Stay informed on the latest trends in cancer care delivery, health policy, and technology to support quality cancer care delivery at the ACCC 44TH ANNUAL MEETING & CANCER CENTER BUSINESS SUMMIT, March 14-16, 2018, in Washington, D.C. View agenda and registration information.


All Signs Point to Patient-Centered Care on the Quality Journey

By Becky L. DeKay, MBA, President ACCC

resources-Trends2014-145x195The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has just released its 2014 Trends in Cancer Programs survey results, and our membership revealed what matters to them most—delivering quality, patient-centered care. ACCC’s annual survey provides insight on the top issues facing cancer programs today, from clinical trial accrual, to expanding use of oral oncolytics, to providing financial advocacy services, and much more.

My presidential theme during my 2014-2015 term is quality cancer care, and I firmly believe that quality is a journey, not a destination. With this in mind, an analysis of these survey results reflects how our members are continuously striving to deliver quality care with a variety of forward-thinking solutions.

One compelling new trend among cancer programs—an increasing number are proactively developing their own guidelines to help measure and track the quality of care provided, rather than waiting to be told what to do by payers. This determination to anticipate the changing healthcare landscape and to grow is encouraging; especially since only 28% of respondents reported that payers currently require quality measures.

At Feist-Weiller Cancer Center we have participated in ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) to gauge our quality in clinical care, and have done very well. We also have patient satisfaction surveys, and usually our scores are high.  What keeps me up at night, though, is that we are unsure as to how best present this data to our various stakeholders who define quality care in very different ways.

For example, while “trastuzumab for patients with AJCC stage I (T1c) to III HER-2/neu positive breast cancer” may make sense to clinicians—payers and patients may not understand the clinical decision making for an expensive drug that is not without side effects. And when the patient spends more than 30 minutes in an exam room, many payers on the “judging” side (or clerical staff entering the data reported) won’t know that this reflects the fact that the patient needed more time with the physician team before making an informed decision and not that she was just waiting for a physician to arrive.

One thing all stakeholders agree on is the importance of patient-centered care. Our patients’ needs are not solely medical, a fact many cancer programs have started to address. In ACCC’s 2014 Trends in Cancer Programs survey, an increasing number of cancer programs report that they are stepping up their efforts to ensure that they are ready for the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC) standards that go into effect in 2015, including those related to palliative care, clinical trials, patient navigation, cancer survivorship, and genetic counseling. The survey also suggests that patient-centered care is driving growth in the number of supportive services being offered, including integrative and complementary therapies. This year’s survey shows that the patient-centered field of financial advocacy is thriving, with 90% of survey respondents offering financial assistance services, and 84% reporting that they have “financial specialists” on staff.

As ACCC continues to solicit feedback from its members, I hope that you will find this survey a useful resource to comprehensively evaluate your organization’s performance.

This is year five of the survey, which is a joint project between ACCC and Lilly Oncology. More than 110 ACCC-member cancer programs participated in this year’s survey. Learn more here.

Becky L. DeKay, MBA, is ACCC President (2014-2015) and director of oncology services at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport, La.