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ASCO Survey Provides Insights Into Ever-Changing World of Oncology Practice Operations

Jun 08, 2020

For the past 4 years, ASCO has conducted its annual Survey of Oncology Practice Operations to learn more about the state of business and operational issues in oncology. ASCO vice president of Clinical Affairs Stephen S. Grubbs, MD, FASCO, talks about the survey and how it helps ASCO and the oncology professionals the Society serves.

Why does ASCO conduct the Survey of Oncology Practice Operations?

SG: The cancer care environment changes quickly, and this survey helps us stay up to date on the current landscape of oncology practice operations. The survey allows us to identify trends and stay on top of new challenges, including new and sweeping changes to physician reimbursement, quality reporting, payer utilization management strategies, along with continued competitive pressures.

Our members have questions about a range of oncology practice issues, like “Should I recruit additional providers?” “Do I have enough nursing support?” “Should I have a financial counselor? And If so, how many should I have, and how much should I pay them?” The Survey of Oncology Practice Operations gives us the data we need to develop benchmarks that help practices answer these and other questions related to productivity, revenue, staffing levels, salaries, and other expenses.

ASCO has conducted the Survey of Oncology Practice Operations several years in a row now. What are some of the trends that have come to light through the survey?

SG: As cancer has evolved as a chronic disease and our number of survivors has grown, practices have had to adapt their care delivery models. The survey has helped bring to light an increase in new members of the oncology care team, including advanced practice providers, nurses dedicated to patient navigation and supportive services, and financial counselors. We’ve also recently seen much more variation in the number of new patients that a physician can see in a year, perhaps due to increasing work placed upon oncologists from MACRA and other regulations. This survey helps identify those who are successful in adapting to these changes and inform others of best practices.

Why should practices participate in the survey? What will they learn?

SG: Participating physician and administrative leaders will receive a comprehensive report detailing how their practice compares to others in dozens of practice benchmarks, including productivity, revenue, staffing levels, salaries, expenses, and more. All participants will also receive a full data set of deidentified data.

Also, for the first time, survey participants will be entered in a drawing for a free year of Practice Administrator or other Affiliated Health Professional ASCO membership.

What areas does the survey cover?

SG: The survey covers a range of practice operation issues, including productivity, revenue, staffing levels, salaries, and other expenses in hematology/oncology, radiation oncology, drug administration suites, oral pharmacies, clinical research units, and other ancillary services.

What can practices do to prepare to participate in the survey?

SG: Participants should sit down to complete the survey with billing information from their practice management system, staffing hours and compensation from human resources, and a year-end financial statement for their practices or service line. This is information that any physician or administrative leader should have available to them. If they do not have access to this information, the survey is a great opportunity to collect it. Access to this kind of information is critical to the success of your practice.

Who can participate in the survey?

SG: Physician leaders or oncology administrators in all practice settings can participate, including academic medical centers, physician-owned practices, and a variety of hospital ownership or partnership models.

The survey is currently open and will close on July 10, 2020. Take the 2020 survey.

Results from the 2019 Survey of Oncology Practice Operations are now available in JCO Oncology Practice.


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