Also, demand for oncology services is currently projected to grow by 42%, while the workforce is expected to grow by only 28%. Those figures do not include demand from additional patients who will need and receive services through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Factoring those patients into the mix means an even bigger strain on oncologists and patients.
In addition to giving oncology nurses more responsibility, Schilsky envisions a bigger role for PCPs, too, especially when a cancer patient becomes a cancer survivor.
"In most medical communities, the PCP is the coordinator of care and therefore does have strong relationships with any number of medical specialists," he says. Educating PCPs on cancer care and follow-up is key to including them as part of a cancer team.
PCMH to the Rescue?
The looming shortage of oncologists boosts one physician's view that patient-centered medical homes may be an answer. John Sprandio, MD, FACP, who has developed a PCMH for his oncology practice in Pennsylvania, says ASCO's report supports the same goals as an oncology PCMH: efficient, consistent, personalized, and better patient care.