In an April 2023 report, we explored the forces that are shaping the future of cancer care and the implications for providers. A key theme is the convergence of academic and community cancer center roles, driven by the scale achieved through community hospital mergers (and cancer scale unlocked therein) and the decentralization of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers as they add care environments closer to where patients live. 

In this briefing, we take a closer look at the pattern of industry change we believe will remake NCI-community affiliation relationships over the next 5 years. We expect a new class of partnerships to emerge—characterized by higher-fidelity clinical integration, deeper strategic and financial alignment, and a research-first orientation. 

Designing and participating within these “next-generation” partnership models will require a wholesale change in the way NCI centers manage and resource external affiliations and a resetting of the expectations with their community partners. When implemented in their purest form, we predict these models will create seamless, multi-site care ecosystems, with community programs as natural and indistinguishable extensions of the NCI center and a shared standard of excellence that brings immense value to the cancer patient.

Over the next 5 years, NCI and community cancer center partnerships will be completely remade.

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