Journal of Oncology Practice
Studies have predicted a shortfall in the workforces of oncologists and primary care physicians in the coming years. These estimates are based on the number of current physicians, joining each profession, as benchmarked against the number of patients needing care. For active care treatment, and particularly for the care of cancer survivors, it is likely that current calculations underestimated the shortfalls which will occur in the next 5 to 10 years. Ever more complex cancer therapies are leading to better outcomes with improved cure rates and prolonged survivals even for patients who ultimately succumb to their disease, resulting in a substantial increase in utilization of health care resources. Due to these factors, utilization of health care resources by cancer patients and cancer survivors is climbing at a rate greater than would be predicted by patient numbers alone. The combination of an increased number of patients utilizing more resources calls into question to the ability of our healthcare system to meet the needs of cancer pateints and cancer survivors in the future. It is crucial that innovative models of care (utilizaing non-physician providers) be developed and evaluated to assure quality care and services for this growing population.
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