A new year means new goals and strategies for cancer centers across the nation.

Here, seven leaders share with Becker’s their top priorities for cancer care in 2024:

Editor’s note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Ken Chaij. Executive Director of Oncology Service Line at Kettering (Ohio) Health: Our overall goal is always to become a regional destination center. Within that, we are also focusing on our clinical core to become more efficient with our clinical services while maintaining a high level of quality. Part of improving efficiency is picking the right software to reduce frustration and clicks.

We’re also looking at what we can do in the area of research. There are more and more things being found out at the molecular level. The studies are just multiplying and we’re trying to see what is most effective, cost effective and useful for our patients. We don’t want to put patients in financial distress but want to help them have an amazing quality of life for as long as possible. So it’s a balancing act we’re feeling our way through in 2024.

Lastly, we’re looking both inside and outside our system walls to find the partners. 

Monique Gary, DO. Breast Surgical Oncologist and Medical Director, Cancer Program and Director, Breast Program at Grand View Health (Sellersville, Pa.): We’re working on better tools to assess how people are doing across all these areas of wellness, whether it’s psychosocial or food insecurities or nutritional concerns. With these tools, we hope to assess and try to standardize implementation of personalized support for our patients, so they feel heard and supported throughout their treatment journey.

Maria Gonzalez. Executive Director of Stanford Cancer Destination Service Line (Palo Alto, Calif.):

Stanford Medicine is currently defining a long-term vision for the cancer enterprise to broaden its impact, and which will build upon its established excellence in adult and pediatric cancer care, cancer research, and cancer training. Called “Reimaging Cancer Innovation and Care,” its overall aim is to address unmet needs in the cancer field and improve patient outcomes by leveraging the unique strengths of the Stanford ecosystem.

Stanford Medicine is developing a new cancer campus with a dedicated cancer inpatient hospital, outpatient clinics, basic science and translational laboratories, clinical research, and other services. In the meantime, we are investing significant resources to completely refurbish our 300 Pasteur Drive hospital to be our cancer inpatient hospital until the new campus is developed.

We are also continuing to expand care models, access to clinical trials and strategic partnerships.

Peter Pisters, MD. President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston): As we look ahead, we will remain focused on implementing our institutional strategy, which was designed to maximize our impact on humanity to finally end cancer. Guided by that strategy and by the input from our workforce, we aim to focus on enhancing and sustaining initiatives in key areas, such as optimizing the patient experience, building on employee wellness efforts, and transforming our nursing program to enhance nursing careers and care delivery. We also plan to embrace new technologies and opportunities to continue driving breakthroughs across the cancer spectrum. As a leader in cancer care, research prevention and education, we have a responsibility to harness tools like artificial intelligence to fuel new insights and cutting-edge discoveries faster than ever before. Our recently launched Institute for Data Science in Oncology integrates the tremendous power of data science with our unparalleled clinical and scientific expertise to transform the future of cancer in ways only possible at MD Anderson.

Dino Prato, NMD. Founder and CEO of Envita Medical Centers (Scottsdale, Ariz.): We have seen many patients suffer due to financial constraints in seeking the most appropriate care as well as the lack of awareness about the available treatment options, despite having health insurance coverage. Health insurance programs with high premiums or deductibles do not necessarily open doorways for you to access the latest treatment options or receive outcome-driven care. My primary goal for 2024 is to reverse that trend and liberate Americans from the myriad of health insurance restrictions, allowing them to get coverage for a wider range of treatment options, which are designed to save and extend life spans, improve quality of life, as well as save precious time and money. We are working towards replacing the broken healthcare system to put value-driven precision care at the core of the payer system. 

We are launching Envita Health: an innovative health insurance program, which is the first integrative precision medicine network in the United States, covering not only the latest in conventional medicine but also alternative and functional medicine. Unlike standard health insurance programs, which are designed by financial institutions, Envita Health is designed by doctors themselves with a focus on delivering outcome-driven care. We have designed Envita Health to work toward eliminating waste, fraud and abusive expenditure in every aspect of healthcare. To accomplish this goal, Envita Health provides access to Centers of Excellence (COE) for specialized care, concierge care navigation for guiding you to the best treatment options, custom-developed wellness plans based on advanced AI data, and an expansive pharmacy program for discount-priced medications and custom compounded pharmaceuticals.

William Tse, MD. Division Director Of Hematology And Oncology at MetroHealth (Cleveland): The strategic theme for our cancer care will be called “putting patients first.” We will achieve this by focusing on equity and addressing disparity in access to innovative care. We emphasize innovative care, clinical trials in treatment outcomes, and collaborating with community organizations, policymakers and healthcare providers to create inclusive strategies. By reducing social barriers, we are making all services accessible to cancer patients regardless of their background and socioeconomic status so that no one is left behind. 

The second focus will be to lead using our expertise and research partnerships with other elite institutes. We will be more focused on integrating cutting-edge treatment, personalized medicine and fostering multidisciplinary collaboration to ensure excellent treatment outcomes. We will also provide a broader spectrum of patient-supportive programs, including food security and social events that prioritize early detection.

Marcel van den Brink, MD, PhD. President of City of Hope Los Angeles and National Medical Center: City of Hope’s overarching goal is to be able to help more patients, families and communities receive best-in-class cancer care. Given City of Hope’s recent expansion across the country as well as our growth plans in California, we are on track to make significant progress on this goal in 2024 by focusing on key elements, such as further integrating our cancer centers in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix. We’re now all on one electronic medical record platform, so we’re working on further integrating our clinical care models and clinical trials as well as developing initiatives to develop best-in-class biobanking of biospecimens for research. 

In Los Angeles, we plan to complete the construction of our brand-new outpatient center in 2024. As health care advances, more of our cancer care — even complex, innovative care like CAR-T cell therapy — can be done in an outpatient setting. This eight-story, 350,000-square-foot facility is part of a $1 billion investment in our comprehensive cancer center campus and will double the number of exam rooms and infusion capacity in the outpatient setting.

This post, 7 cancer leaders on their goals for 2024, was first published by Becker’s Hospital Review on December 13, 2023.

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