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Improving Cancer Care with Strategic Planning

April 8, 2022

Many influences affect oncology practice management, like changing government regulations, new research and medical advancements, the competitive landscape, and market opportunities for community oncology. Preparing practice management to flex with these changes while still providing quality patient care requires intentional planning and implementation of a well-thought-out roadmap for the future. With the rapidly evolving complexities of community cancer care, oncology practices that rely on strategic planning are more likely to experience success in critical operational and business areas in the long run.

Strategic Planning: What It Looks Like

Making time to prioritize a strategic plan is key to its success. However, the steps to creating a roadmap for the future begin with self-discovery. This may include:

  • a focused time for decision-makers to discuss stated and unstated goals, priorities, and challenges currently faced
  • an action plan created to meet specific outcomes
  • a timeline definition to make changes or implement new directions
  • discussion and planning for financial and staff resources needed to follow the timeline
  • an understanding of how to address unique needs or desires once the roadmap is in place

Operational Changes Through Strategic Planning

Operational weaknesses may be creating challenges within a community practice, but they can continue to erode successes without a strategic plan to identify and solve them. Purposeful planning can focus on streamlining operations by creating an avenue to study the feasibility of new programming, technologies, services, or facilities. A strategic plan can not only be the roadmap for oncology practice, but it can also provide a clear lens for looking at the functionality of the practice and what’s needed or viable in the future to create the most substantial and capable community care operation.

Unifying the Oncology Practice

Individuals within community oncology may hold different priorities for the practice, their patients, and how the teams work together. Planning also includes sitting down with physicians and leadership teams to uncover these priority initiatives and bringing similar desires together to create a unified direction for the practice. 

Effective oncology business management plans will consider how to improve the workflow through peer-to-peer discussions leading to a more coordinated and integrated patient experience. Community practices can create this unified direction of patient-centric care in the same way larger organizations successfully do with these purposeful discussions that lead to actionable plans.

Improved Focus

Not only will the patients benefit from the practice’s new shared directional vision, physicians and care teams will be able to understand the goals and benefits of initiatives more wholly with the unified approach. Intentional discovery, planning, and implementation will illuminate similarities in methods and philosophies and highlight where a difference in focus can best utilize a team member’s strengths to improve the practice’s overall success. 

Creating this common culture is more challenging in a smaller community care setting than in a large organization. However, bringing participants together to discuss shared goals through their contributions will create a positive, supportive culture that permeates the whole team.

Planning for Financial Successes with Oncology Practice Management

With a critical financial advantage given to hospital-based cancer facilities through a 40-60% higher reimbursement rate, community oncology must always plan for ways to continue to provide top-notch care while keeping costs down. Strategic planning can uncover ways to increase revenue streams while still focusing on the patient. 

Community oncology can make decisions to support a solid financial future through thoughtful discussions, planning, evaluation of current trends, and anticipating changes in cancer treatment philosophies. With the recent shift to more hospital-based care facilities away from some independent care centers, community oncology practice management strategies may include increasing revenue. Strategies that focus on bringing support services to community oncology rather than sending patients out for medicine have proven to be financially beneficial. 

Providing patients a convenient service while also decreasing costs through an in-office service may meet the healthcare priorities of physicians and meet leadership’s shared goals of increasing revenue and practice efficiency without sacrificing patient care or quality. 

The Future of Oncology

Practices that create and stick to a roadmap for their future will thrive and continue to provide quality patient care at the same time. Intelligent oncology business management requires introspective discovery, intentional planning, and leadership that will focus on hitting goals and meeting initiatives that will benefit the patients, physicians, and the practice. The future of oncology lies in intelligent planning so that the leaders and physicians can adapt and proactively adjust to the quickly changing oncology landscape without sacrificing stability.

About Verdi Oncology

Verdi Oncology empowers oncology practices, physicians, and hospitals to focus on exceptional patient care where continuous improvement and growth are shared priorities. Verdi understands the challenges facing the modern physician practice, and we have the tools and expertise to help practices achieve sustainable growth and scale. Contact us to learn more about joining the Verdi Network.