CONTACT: Jennifer Glicoes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 12, 2014
Strong Leaders Critical to Navigating Shifting Landscape in Oncology Care
ROCKVILLE, Md.—While the healthcare sector has many workforce issues, a group of experts recently examined one of the most critical workforce issues in cancer care—leadership. The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Institute for the Future of Oncology (the Institute) convened multidisciplinary oncology stakeholders from across the country for a discussion on the challenges and best practices in cancer leadership.
Healthcare delivery in the United States, including cancer care, is undergoing transformative changes, creating a demand for strong leaders who can help navigate these changes while ensuring patients across the country continue to receive quality care. The need for oncology services grows, yet community cancer programs are tasked with simultaneously managing workforce shortages, rising drug costs, newly emerging therapies and a system-wide shift from volume-based to value-based care. To better negotiate payment reform and payer reimbursement structures, cancer programs are also navigating market pressures driving consolidations and mergers resulting in hospitals acquiring physician practices or independent practices coming together to strengthen their bargaining power, while remaining autonomous.
"It's a highly dynamic environment, and there is a need now—perhaps more than ever—to identify individuals and institutions willing to lead the way in advancing quality care for patients," said Mark S. Soberman, MD, MBA, FACS, Medical Director, Oncology Service Line, Frederick Regional Health System, Regional Cancer Therapy Center, and discussion facilitator. The second annual Institute forum provided a platform for robust dialogue around the qualities needed to take on these leadership roles, as well as the myriad challenges future oncology leaders should be prepared to tackle.
Challenges and opportunities in cancer care are multifaceted, but the ability to confront them are held together by one common thread—good leadership. A white paper published as a result of the Institute forum discussion, "Oncology Leadership: Looking to the Future in a Shifting Healthcare Environment," sheds light on key leadership issues. Select highlights from the exchange:
- Leaders are needed to provide a 360-degree view; for example providing a clinical perspective to hospital management, a business perspective to clinicians, and a hospital/ACO perspective to community providers.
- Good clinicians are essential for patient care, but may not make the best leaders. Additionally, the leader’s job should be strategic and visionary in nature, rather than administrative.
- Clinicians are not the only viable leaders; dedicated programs and processes are needed to identify and advance oncology workers who want to lead and advance all facets of cancer care.
- To be effective, leaders need time to create and implement a vision.
- Leaders will need to break down the existing silos between various oncology professions (surgeons, medical oncology, radiation oncology, and related providers, etc.), to integrate systems and facilitate decision-making processes across services lines and disciplines.
- Effective leaders must balance cost, value, quality, and patient satisfaction in all decisions.
- To ensure quality care for the patient, leaders must address and advocate for improvements in both the clinical and financial aspects of patient care.
Forum participants noted that comprehensive oncology care is driving increased attendance by cancer specialists other than oncologists at major oncology conferences, as care team members from disciplines such as pathology, pharmacy, interventional radiology and others become more integrated into cancer patient care. Leadership from oncology nurses was also highlighted as being crucial to quality care and enhancing the overall patient experience.
As oncology providers navigate the many changes and challenges associated with provision of high-quality cancer care, ACCC is committed to providing the information, resources, and training needed to advance tomorrow’s leaders. The Association will also continue to drive efforts to identify and disseminate successful leadership models and best practices that encourage a more integrated approach to cancer care.
To learn more about these findings or about ACCC, visit www.accc-cancer.org.