New ASCO Workforce Studies Release Preliminary Data on Oncology Workforce Environment
ASCO has released the preliminary findings of a far-reaching research initiative to collect and analyze oncology workforce demographic and practice data. This initiative will help guide the Society’s response to the ever-changing business and political landscape in which oncologists care for people with cancer. This initiative comprises the three following research projects, the early findings of which reflect a mixed picture of an oncology community adapting to myriad stressors:
- ASCO Workforce Information System: The ASCO Workforce Information System (WIS) provides a mechanism for ongoing data collection and reporting on the current status of the oncologist workforce—specifically, for assembling the latest available data on oncologist supply and cancer incidence and prevalence. ASCO plans to publish WIS findings annually, reporting on new data and tracking trends over time.
- ASCO National Census of Oncology Practices: This landmark nationwide initiative collected key data from U.S. oncology practices to address a lack of current and reliable information on how oncology practices are adapting to increasing administrative, financial, and political pressures, and to gather information about the existing and trending ownership structure of oncology practices. ASCO will collect, analyze, and report on the census each year, with plans to significantly expand U.S. practice participation in 2013.
- ASCO Study of Geographic Access to Oncology Care: ASCO contracted with the University of Iowa, with funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to analyze data from the Iowa Cancer Registry, providing a means to review all newly diagnosed cancer cases within the entire state of Iowa to determine if geographic physician distribution and patient access to treatment sites contribute to disparities in cancer care. Iowa was chosen because of the combination of its robust physician database and cancer registry. As part of the project, the University of Iowa is helping ASCO understand how to analyze similar treatment trends and geographic distribution of oncologists on a national scale.
Annual Report Coming in Fall 2013
ASCO plans to expand its research efforts on the state of cancer care, and summarize these efforts in an annual report in the fall of 2013. The original articles on these three studies were published in the January 18, 2013, issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice, and a detailed summary of key findings can be found at www.asco.org/stateofcancercare. ■