ACCC releases findings of “Cancer Care Trends in Community Cancer Centers” survey

July 28, 2010

This year’s “Cancer Trends” survey provides insight into ambulatory cancer care, effects of the recession, and organizational strategies that may help providers adapt to the changes in the healthcare marketplace.

This year’s “Cancer Trends” survey provides insight into ambulatory cancer care, effects of the recession, and organizational strategies that may help providers adapt to the changes in the healthcare marketplace.


Cancer Care Trends in Community Cancer Centers is an ongoing survey of the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ membership. Survey goals are to:
• Provide ACCC with information informing its advocacy mission
• Assist member organizations to understand nationwide developments in the business aspects of cancer care
• Assist members to evaluate their own organization's performance relative to similar organizations through a consistent and meaningful benchmark.

This is Year 2 of a three-year survey, and is a joint project between ACCC and Eli Lilly.

Key findings:
1) Programs are doing more with less: Survey results show that more cancer programs are freezing or scaling back 2010 equipment purchase plans, including linear accelerators, ultrasound imaging machines, computed tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, and PET or PET/CT machines. There's a downward trend in the ratio of existing to budgeted equipment.

2) Trend toward consolidation: In the past year 17% of responding programs reported consolidation of programs within their market area. In the next one to two years, one in three hospital respondents expect consolidation within their primary market area. That compares to less than one in five in Year 1 of the survey. Consolidation is defined as a merger or affiliation with another cancer program or the acquisition of another cancer program or part of another program.

3) Increased use of EMRs: The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) is increasing, but is still not universal in community cancer programs. In 2009, 84% of respondents report utilization of EMRs versus 65% in 2008. More than half (54%) of respondents that do use EMRs report using more than one software.

4) Financial needs of cancer patients rising: Cancer programs report seeing more patients who need help affording their medication, co-pays or co-insurance, prescription drug expenses, and transportation expenses. Cancer programs report a change in the number of patients for whom they provide chemotherapy infusions. Seventy-three percent of respondents report an increase in the number of uninsured/underinsured patients who receive chemotherapy.

5) Use of oral cancer drugs remains limited: Just 24% of programs dispense oral anti-cancer drugs at the infusion center. These numbers are up only slightly from last year's 21%. We expect the numbers will continue to increase as more and more oral agents come to the market and patients demand their greater convenience. Hospitals are well-positioned, since they already have in-house pharmacies. Of those programs that dispense oral anti-cancer drugs, just 40 percent report having quality initiatives related to the use of oral agents in place.