This is the first of a series on the value and benefits of community oncology and why it’s the preferred choice for most cancer patients as well.
There is a 1 in 3 likelihood of getting a cancer diagnosis at some point in your life. That’s high. Fortunately, the odds of living a long life as a survivor improve each year. Chances are, someone you know has cancer. Cancer affects almost everyone on some level.
Cancer is not just life and death. Cancer is a hassle.
There are treatments, lifestyle changes, costs, loved ones, caregivers, insurance, family issues, appointments, driving, and on and on. Cancer consumes time, strength, resources and relationships.
Whether you’re healthy or recently diagnosed, the odds of cancer affecting your life makes having an understanding of it worthwhile.
The day will likely come when even a basic understanding of cancer will make the difference between consuming fear and strategic planning. As one of the largest and most forward thinking practices in the country, we often see the fear and anxiety caused by lack of cancer education. Confronting cancer is about education, not fear.
Community Oncology Education.
As an industry leader, Tennessee Oncology has created this cancer education series to equip Americans with cancer common sense, in understandable terms. If you find it beneficial we hope you will share it with someone who may find it helpful as well.
Community Oncology vs. Hospital/Academic Oncology.
There are essentially two approaches to cancer care delivery nationwide: Community Oncology and Hospital Outpatient. Community oncology and hospital outpatient use the same drugs and therapies. Both have gifted oncologists and support staff dedicated to the care and well being of cancer patients. But there are many underlying differences, often based on geography and financial components associated with return on investment.
Community oncology, where most cancer patients receive their care and treatment, can be comprised of a group of one or 100 physicians not part of a hospital or academic institution. Tennessee Oncology has chosen to be an independent, physician-owned community oncology practice because evidence supports that community oncology can provide a better patient experience at lower cost. Unfortunately, the number of independent community oncology practices is declining every year as rising operating costs force private practices to close or sell to larger health systems.
Hospital Outpatient or Academic Oncology.
Hospital Outpatient tends to be groups of oncologists owned by a hospital or health care system acquired to extend and compliment other hospital services. Oftentimes, they’re purchased for financial or competitive reasons. America’s major hospital systems in large metropolitan markets often offer oncology services to drive hospital revenue, just as they purchase other specialties to compliment their business model.
Geography and Cancer Care.
Large cities generally offer both community oncology and hospital outpatient. Healthcare, like most industries, operates where there are the most customers or patients. Community oncology practices like Tennessee Oncology sometimes lease treatment center space within hospital properties in large markets, as support services are often centralized for geographic convenience. In large markets, community oncology and hospital outpatient often operate side-by-side.
Urban and Rural Growth Trends.
Throughout the last century, people moved to large cities for urban jobs and livelihood. In recent years, bedroom and rural communities have become attractive options for families seeking a better quality of life. As population trends have evolved, so has the need for community healthcare services including oncology. Cancer can be a diagnosis that requires years of treatment and follow-up, and travel to and from appointments can quickly add up. Community oncology, be it a single physician or a small group, has a beneficial advantage which allows patients outside of large metropolitan areas to have access to world-class treatment centers in smaller and more rural locations, closer to a patient’s home, family and caregivers.
Patient Experience and Convenience.
Even in larger metropolitan markets, patients often prefer skilled suburban clinics with front door parking over downtown traffic and lack of parking at large, academic medical centers. This is where patient experience blends with caregiver and family convenience to become driving forces behind community care. Cancer patients, like all of us, are interested in a better quality of life. Faced with months or even years of treatment, this growing population of patients, living a good distance outside of hospital outpatient, seek out and easily recognize the geographic advantages and lifestyle benefits of community oncology delivered in centers close to home.
At Tennessee Oncology, we see the patient advantage provided by our commitment to community oncology. We understand full well the geographic value we provide to cancer patients throughout middle and east Tennessee and outside of large metropolitan centers. We know because Tennessee Oncology patients at treatment centers in bedroom and rural communities tell us every day. One only need look at the growth of communities outside of Nashville to understand the scope of patients we serve who would otherwise be forced to drive long distances for the same world class care and clinical trials we deliver close to home.
World Class Cancer Care, Close to Home, Is Just One Reason Why Tennessee Oncology Is Committed To Community Oncology.