This issue of The Journal of Oncology Management focuses on Strategic Planning, Skills, and Workplace Design. While these three topics are very different, they have one common goal: to provide outstanding cancer care in a therapeutic environment. There have been amazing strides taken in the last 20 years to improve cancer care. With intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), digital imaging, stem cell transplantation, and advanced chemotherapy, we are living longer and fuller lives. Our consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and their expectations continue to rise. As the technology continues to evolve, there needs to be an emphasis on strategic planning and what will prove to be the cancer center of the future.
When looking at design, there needs to be an interest in revolutionizing the experience of the cancer patient and contributing to a supportive and therapeutic environment. A core leadership group needs to look at prioritizing growth opportunities within the institution and the community. It is important to empower interested patients and caring staff to promote wellness in a health care environment from the design phase through treatment.
What do we need to do to design a cancer center of the future? How do we make a solid strategic plan = supportive designs = center of excellence? The main elements that need to be looked at include
Institutional Commitment. What is the commitment of senior administration? What is the physician commitment? Is there sufficient space and resources to allow for expansion? Does the organization have the reputation in the community to attract new business?
Cancer Product Line Focus. Has the oncology product line been clearly defined? Are all of the oncology components under one umbrella, one administrator? Is oncology looked upon as the strength of the institution or system?
Cancer Program Capabilities. Is there grant potential? Is there research potential? Is there support for grants and research? Is there potential for joint ventures or academic affiliations?
Physical Plant. Is the cancer center accessible? Is it convenient? Is it comfortable for patients? Has attention been paid to the sensory environment for the patient?
Program Administrator. Is the oncology administrator qualified to manage a complex and changing product line? Is there a high degree of coordination and collaboration between the administrator, the physicians, and the staff?
Now that patients are living with cancer longer; the intensity and complexity of treatment modalities are increasing; and the emotional, financial, and physical tolls impact an individuals’ ability to cope, it is of the utmost importance that key individuals within an organization work together to develop a strategic plan that will facilitate the evolution of the cancer center of the future.
As you read the articles in this issue of the Journal, begin to focus on your own program, looking not only at your internal strengths, but on developing strategies to take it to the next level to become a center of excellence.