Rockville, MD – The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) today released its annual Trending Now in Cancer Care report, including actionable strategies in eight key areas: payer-driven challenges, patient engagement, new care delivery models, workforce issues, business intelligence (BI) solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) clinical decision support tools, precision medicine, and research and clinical trials. This year’s annual report is built around key insights from a series of facilitated interactive discussions with provider and industry members at the ACCC 49th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit.
Among the key insights shared:
- With most cancer programs facing workforce shortages, improving recruitment and retention, addressing burnout, and improving morale and resiliency are top of mind for leadership.
- Educating and empowering patients so that they trust and feel connected to their cancer care team can improve access, health equity, and patient outcomes.
- Payers continue to implement strategies—like prior authorization—that are burdensome to providers and patients, negatively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes.
- COVID-19 accelerated adoption and expansion of new care delivery models, like virtual visits and remote patient monitoring, helping providers better meet the needs of underserved patients.
- BI tools and technology can streamline clinic workflow and processes, improve business and financial operations, and mitigate workforce shortages by automating manual processes.
- AI is supporting consensus-driven clinical pathways, processes to measure and report adherence to evidence-based guidelines, and algorithms to help identify at-risk patients.
- Oncology is working to enroll diverse patients into clinical trials, make clinical trial participation standard of care, and spur adoption of new models, like decentralized and virtual clinical trials.
- New roles, like precision medicine stewards, are rapidly spurring adoption of precision medicine, bringing this care into all communities so that all patient populations may benefit.
“This year’s Trending Now in Cancer Care report reinforces that we have no shortage of creative solutions to many challenges in cancer care delivery,” said Olalekan Ajayi, PharmD, ACCC president. “Now we must take these proposed solutions and put them into action in cancer programs across the country. Leadership should analyze these insights to understand what strategies they can implement to improve the patient and provider experience.”
Among the solutions shared:
- To mitigate physician shortages or coverage gaps: Hire additional advanced practice providers, like medical assistants and pharmacists, to manage tasks such as patient education and symptom management.
- To improve resiliency and morale: Create funding streams to build percentages of time that staff can devote to programs and processes that address burnout and build resiliency so it’s not just activities that staff work on in the evenings or on weekends.
- To better engage patients: Partner with patient advocates and community health workers. Advocates can assist with health literacy, benefit issues, social determinants of health and barriers to care. Community health workers help providers build trust in that community and educate communities about cancer, especially when providers and resources are scarce.
- To improve the payer-provider relationship: During contract negotiations, providers should educate payers about new oncology drugs coming to market, the high price tags of these new therapies, and their benefits, like increased life expectancy and/or improved quality of life.
- To improve molecular testing: Establish a single point of contact, generally a nonclinical staff member, to oversee the molecular testing process from start to finish.
Trending Now in Cancer Care Parts 1 and 2 are available online at: https://www.accc-cancer.org/home/about/publications/trends.
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) is the leading education and advocacy organization for the cancer care community. Founded in 1974, ACCC is a powerful network of 30,000 multidisciplinary practitioners from 1,700 hospitals and practices nationwide. As advances in cancer screening and diagnosis, treatment options, and care delivery models continue to evolve, so has ACCC. ACCC continually adapts its resources to meet the changing needs of the entire oncology care team. For more information, visit accc-cancer.org. Follow us on social media, read our blog, ACCCBuzz, tune in to our CANCER BUZZ podcast and view our CANCER BUZZ TV channel.