The Client Challenge

In 2020, a large state health system was looking to grow its system-wide oncology service line. The health system’s cancer network had experienced tremendous patient and profitability growth in the prior 5 years, but it now needed to optimize its increasingly complex footprint, incorporate rapid advancements in research and clinical care, and stave off bold efforts by competitors. It needed a new strategic plan.

  • Greater degree of sub-specialty care outmigration
  • Growing investments and collaboration by competitors
  • Low capacity to adapt existing facilities
  • Limited scalability in rural markets
  • Lagging emphasis on research and medical education

Navigating to Next: The Solution

The oncology network’s previous 5-year strategic plan was developed with help from The Chartis Group beginning in 2012 and resulted in a $5 million investment for expansion. Results far exceeded predictions, with the network increasing new cancer cases by 22% in the next 5 years—14% more than forecasted. Similarly, the contribution margin per new cancer case rose by 102% during the same period. 

The health system is committed to ensuring patients and their caregivers have access to the highest quality sub-specialty, patient-centric cancer care close to home. To achieve this mission, it again partnered with Chartis to develop a strategic plan that would engage stakeholders from every area of the network. Insights were gleaned from workshops within 6 essential domains—care coordination, research and education, contemporary cancer care, value-based care, relationships and branding, and provider recruitment and retention. 

The core strategies that emerged included investing in the care delivery network, reinforcing team-based care, expanding clinical capabilities and support services, and refocusing on research and teaching.

Navigating to Next: Key Components



Examine market forces, financial performance, and capabilities



Develop vision for gaining broad stakeholder consensus



Set strategy goals and tactical initiatives



Detail resource needs and sequencing



Determine financial implications and required investments



Lay out priorities, gain approval, and launch

Client Impact

The plan’s 5 strategic goals and 25 associated tactics for implementation enabled the cancer care network to reliably estimate its costs, account for future market shifts, and quantify the rate of return on the network’s $100 million investment.

The network is positioned to transform cancer care in the region by:
  • Increasing patient access

  • Fostering a multi-disciplinary care experience by developing sub-specialized care teams

  • Advancing prevention, “previvorship” programs, tumor genomic/pharmacogenomics, and new cellular therapies

  • Expanding the clinical trials portfolio, growing the research workforce, and teaching future physician leaders 

  • Equipping leaders with resources to drive effective decision-making

  • Embracing the value-based payment environment

By bolstering human and capital assets and emphasizing performance improvement, the network anticipates:

incremental new cases annually over 5 years

26 %

rate of return

22 %

increase in contribution margin per new case in the next 5 years, a total increase of 78% since the original strategic plan

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How We Are Making Healthcare Better

There was a richness of positive impact direct to patients and caregivers and across the broader community promulgated through a deep commitment to integrated cancer care. The most significant ripple effects to the community were threefold: (1) growth and prominence in screening and early detection programs and cancer research; (2) access to highly specialized cancer physicians through the launch of an academically oriented oncology practice; and (3) more robust nurse navigation, enabling patients to have a partner throughout their care journey. ”

Kelley D. Simpson

Next Intelligence

Becoming a market leader requires:
  • Planning and intentionality: Strategies developed with input from people on the front lines
  • Continuous investment: Bold outlays driven by mission and market conditions
  • Extensive buy-in: A staff focus on consumers’ wants and needs

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