Health reform is bringing about changes in the healthcare environment, but an equally significant transformation is occurring in science with the sequencing of the human genome and the increasing role of personalized medicine in the delivery of new cancer therapies. These changes directly affect the ability of hospitals to provide value-based, state-of-the-art care and represent major strategic decisions that must be made by management. In the United States, an estimated 85% of cancer patients receive care in community settings, but patients' outcomes are often not equivalent to those achieved in academic health centers. Care of cancer patients in the community is often fragmented, as most oncologists are in private practice and have limited access to formal mechanisms for coordinating care across specialties or with primary care physicians. Furthermore, genetic analysis, advanced diagnostic tests, and clinical trials are not always available to patients in these settings.
The evolution of cancer care requires a reconfiguration of processes and investment in new services. In response, the National Cancer Institute launched the Community Cancer Centers Program in 2007 as a public-private partnership with 16 community hospitals. This article draws on the results of an external evaluation of the pilot program and assesses the role of such a partnership as a means of facilitating the translation of the developing science to the community setting, with reference to the role of management in the implementation of such partnerships.