WASHINGTON — Patients “want a seat at the table” and are conducting research on providers when making decisions in their cancer care, according to a presenter at the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit.
“We are at a time of unprecedented change when it comes to cancer care,” said Deirdre Saulet, PhD, practice manager at Advisory Board, a best practices firm that strives to improve the performance of health care organizations.
To better understand these changes, the Association of Community Cancer Care Centers and the Advisory Board Oncology Roundtable conducted a joint survey.
One of the trends identified in the 2017 Trending Now in Cancer Care Survey was “patients starting to act more independently,” Saulet said.
“We are seeing them want to be engaged and really have a seat at the decision table,” she said.
Patients are asking more informed questions and “taking providers advice as guidance, not gospel,” she said.
There is growing price sensitivity as patients are “taking on responsibility for their health care cost, so they are looking more critically and carefully about how they want to spend those dollars,” she added.
The proliferation of cancer information on the internet also is a factor in the evolving nature of the patient-provider relationship, Saulet said.
This means “a little more questioning, a little less trusting, [and] wanting to have a voice and seat at that decision table,” she said.
An increasing number of patients are researching potential providers by reviewing online provider reviews or quality performance websites, Saulet said.
Patients also are looking for a provider who specializes in their type of cancer, she said.
To address this trend, cancer centers are increasing their numbers of subspecialists, as well as marketing to attract “these self-directed patients,” Saulet said. – by Joan-Marie Stiglich, ELS
Saulet D. Trends that will change the practice of oncology. Presented at: ACCC Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit; March 14-16, 2018; Washington.
Disclosure: Saulet reports no financial disclosures. Pfizer Oncology provided funding and support to Association of Community Cancer Centers for the survey.