At a time of unprecedented advances in the science of cancer, growing complexity in cancer treatments, and ongoing health policy fluctuation, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) ninth annual Trending Now in Cancer Care survey reveals how cancer programs across the country are being impacted by pressure from turbulence in multiple sectors: payers, government, and industry. The survey conducted in partnership with the Oncology Roundtable was carried out in July and August 2018 and received more than 200 responses.
Top Threats & Opportunities
Ranking the top threats to future cancer program growth, survey responses give nearly equal weight to barriers from three sectors: nearly half (48 percent) name reimbursement requirements from payers, 48 percent cite cost of drugs and/or new treatment modalities, and 40 percent find uncertainties in drug pricing reform policies a top threat.
"ACCC's Trending Now in Cancer Care survey provides much-needed perspective on strengths and challenges experienced by cancer programs across the country," said ACCC President Tom Gallo, MS, MDA. "Despite the barriers and pressures programs face, survey results show continued progress in delivery of patient-centered cancer care."
Respondents' selections for top opportunities for return on investment (ROI) are often the areas of focus for improving patient-centered care delivery:
- Care coordination (45 percent)
- More sub-specialists (44 percent)
- Symptom management (36 percent)
- Screening services (30 percent)
Respondents list symptom management (54 percent) and care coordination (41 percent) among the top five opportunities for cost savings. Translation: Proactive symptom management and improved communication between care settings can help cancer programs and practices keep patients out of the emergency room and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations—simultaneously cutting costs and improving the patient experience
Technology: Burden & Boon
Results of the 2018 survey show that the promise of electronic health records (EHRs) for streamlined communication and increased efficiency remains unrealized. While 69 percent of respondents report their EHRs either "significantly improved" or "somewhat improved" care coordination, nearly 70 percent say EHRs have made physician and staff workdays longer. Almost half (49 percent) feel that EHRs have had a negative impact on provider-patient interactions.