While patient access continues to be a challenge for many cancer programs, organizations need to sustain and build upon recent advances—in telehealth, remote/online consults and monitoring, enhanced survivorship programs, integration of advanced practice providers (APPs) and better patient transition to community and primary care providers—if they hope to address current challenges and ensure access for this vulnerable population. This requires concerted effort to fully integrate and hardwire new workflows, policies and expectations into the fabric of the organization.
Findings from The Chartis Group’s survey of cancer care programs suggest that while there are efforts underway to improve access to cancer care, many academic- and community-based cancer care providers across the country are struggling to meet patient need.
While the survey was conducted in October 2019, prior to the global pandemic, many of the findings are especially important as cancer centers seek to optimize access channels and time to treatment.
In the first of these 3 articles, we share select survey findings that highlight goals, standards, policies, scheduling models and performance metrics currently in place at cancer centers across the country that impact and reflect organizational ability to meet growing patient need. The second and third articles describe the variety of foundational and innovative solutions being used or implemented by some of the nation’s leading cancer care providers to increase access and capacity, as well as recommended strategies for your organization based on survey findings and The Chartis Group’s experience.
Survey participants included 14 academic medical center-based cancer programs/centers, 5 community-based cancer programs/centers, and 2 freestanding, independent cancer centers. The survey included 23 standard questions regarding organizational background, access goals and metrics, scheduling/registration systems, use of virtual care/telehealth, care team model, and referral management, among others. Follow-up discussions focused on specific challenges and performance optimization initiatives being implemented to improve access to care.