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Are Community Oncology Practices Outperforming Big Hospitals in Cancer Care?

The therapeutics used to treat cancer are costly, but patients are even more surprised to discover that where they receive their care is a large driver in the overall cost of their care. The site of service, or where patients receive care, impacts the overall f inancial burden for payer and patient. In most scenarios, patients have a choice as to where they want to receive care following their cancer diagnosis, most often the choice is between a community oncology provider, a hospital, or an academic institution. While all generally provide similar services and treatment options, the cost of care for cancer patients is significantly less in a community oncology setting.

The cost of cancer care in the United States has been on the rise in recent years, and it is expected to exponentially increase, amassing well beyond $245 billion by 20301. Cost can fluctuate based on where patients receive care. Those in an academic or hospital setting incur higher costs due to larger and more complex overhead costs. Unnecessary tests and procedures also contribute to increased out-of-pocket costs for the patient and higher costs for the payer.

Link to ASCO post 

Link to Study Survey

Question: Are Private Oncology Practices better option for cancer Care? Yes
Dr. Elisha Phelan

Study Methods and Results

Another study conducted by the Community Oncology Alliance3 found that patients who received cancer treatment at a community oncology provider incurred approximately 28% less in out-of-pocket costs compared to patients who received treatment at a hospital.

Personalized Care

Community oncology practices are noted for their patient-centered approach, which prioritizes empathy, communication, and accessibility. By focusing on personalized treatment plans tailored to individual patient needs, these practices foster strong patient-provider relationships, essential for navigating the complexities of cancer care.

Convenience and Accessibility

Patients receiving cancer care in community oncology settings benefit from reduced travel times and related expenses due to the proximity of these practices to their homes. This increased accessibility often leads to better adherence to treatment regimens, directly impacting patient outcomes. The convenience of local care eliminates the need for long commutes, making it easier for patients to maintain their regular treatment schedules.

Average Cost of Breast Cancer Treatment in

Hospital

Community Provider

Cost-Effectiveness

The study highlighted the cost-effectiveness of community oncology practices. By avoiding the overhead expenses associated with large hospital systems and maintaining close relationships with insurers, these practices can offer competitive pricing without compromising care quality. This financial efficiency helps alleviate the burden on both patients and payers, ensuring that high-quality cancer care is accessible to more people.

person holding amber glass bottles

Collaborative Approach

Community oncology practices also promote collaboration with hospitals and academic centers, leveraging shared expertise and resources to optimize patient outcomes. This collaborative environment fosters innovation, knowledge exchange, and continuous improvement in cancer care delivery.

This case study’s findings underscore the vital role community oncology practices play in the evolving landscape of cancer treatment. As the healthcare industry continues to seek ways to enhance patient care and reduce costs, the advantages of community oncology practices cannot be overlooked. By prioritizing personalized care, accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and collaboration, these practices are setting new standards in cancer care delivery.

The shift towards community oncology practices as preferred cancer treatment sites signifies a transformative moment in healthcare. These practices, with their patient-centered approach and collaborative spirit, are not only improving patient outcomes but also paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive healthcare system. The insights from this study will undoubtedly influence future policies and practices, ensuring that the benefits of community oncology are recognized and embraced on a broader scale.

Conclusions

“The collective insights we reveal in this case study are poised to spark meaningful discussions among policymakers, health-care stakeholders, and the general public about the future of cancer care delivery,” underscored Nathan H. Walcker, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. “By amplifying the voice of community oncology practices, the study advocates for a more inclusive, patient-centered health-care system that celebrates diversity and innovation,” he added.

Lucio N. Gordan, MD, President and Managing Physician of the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, concluded, “The findings summarized in this case study challenge the conventional wisdom surrounding cancer care delivery. Community oncology practices represent a cornerstone of comprehensive cancer care, offering a holistic approach that prioritizes patient well-being and clinical excellence.”

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About Author

IT@hopehealthcalabasas.com

IT@hopehealthcalabasas.com