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Delivery of Global Cancer Care: An International Study of Medical Oncology Workload

In Journal of Global Oncology.
By: Fundytus A.
Contributor(s): Sullivan R | Vanderpuye V | Seruga B | Lopes G | Hammad N | Sengar M | Hopman WM | Brundage MD | Booth CM.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2017Description: .Subject(s): Global cancer care | Medical Oncology In: Journal of Global Oncology Vol. 35, no. suppl 15Summary: Background To our knowledge, there is no literature that has described medical oncology (MO) workload in the global context. Here, we report results of an international study of global MO workload. Methods An online survey was distributed through a snowball method via national oncology societies to chemotherapy-prescribing physicians in 65 countries. Countries were classified into low- or low-middle-income countries (LMICs), upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), and high-income countries (HICs) on the basis of World Bank criteria. Workload was measured as the annual number of new consultations provided to patients with cancer per oncologist. Results A total of 1,115 physicians completed the survey: 13% (147 of 1,115) from LMICs, 17% (186 of 1,115) from UMICs, and 70% (782 of 1,115) from HICs. Eighty percent (897 of 1,115) of respondents were medical oncologists, 10% (109 of 1,115) were clinical oncologists, and 10% (109 of 1,115) were other. The median number of annual consults per oncologist was 175 (interquartile range, 75 to 275); 13% (140 of 1,103) saw ≥ 500 new patients in a year. Annual case volume in LMICs (median consults, 425; 40% of respondents seeing > 500 consults) was substantially higher than in UMICs (median consults, 175; 14% > 500) and HICs (median consults, 175; 7% > 500; P < .001). Among LMICs, UMICs, and HICs, median working days per week were 6, 5, and 5, respectively ( P < .001). The highest annual case volumes per oncologist were in Pakistan (median consults, 950; 73% > 500 consults), India (median consults, 475; 43% > 500), and Turkey (median consults, 475; 27% > 500). Conclusion There is substantial global variation in medical oncology case volumes and clinical workload; this is most striking among LMICs, where huge deficits exist. Additional work is needed, particularly detailed country-level mapping, to quantify activity-based global MO practice and workload to inform training needs and the design of new pathways and models of care.
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Background To our knowledge, there is no literature that has described medical oncology (MO) workload in the global context. Here, we report results of an international study of global MO workload. Methods An online survey was distributed through a snowball method via national oncology societies to chemotherapy-prescribing physicians in 65 countries. Countries were classified into low- or low-middle-income countries (LMICs), upper-middle-income countries (UMICs), and high-income countries (HICs) on the basis of World Bank criteria. Workload was measured as the annual number of new consultations provided to patients with cancer per oncologist. Results A total of 1,115 physicians completed the survey: 13% (147 of 1,115) from LMICs, 17% (186 of 1,115) from UMICs, and 70% (782 of 1,115) from HICs. Eighty percent (897 of 1,115) of respondents were medical oncologists, 10% (109 of 1,115) were clinical oncologists, and 10% (109 of 1,115) were other. The median number of annual consults per oncologist was 175 (interquartile range, 75 to 275); 13% (140 of 1,103) saw ≥ 500 new patients in a year. Annual case volume in LMICs (median consults, 425; 40% of respondents seeing > 500 consults) was substantially higher than in UMICs (median consults, 175; 14% > 500) and HICs (median consults, 175; 7% > 500; P < .001). Among LMICs, UMICs, and HICs, median working days per week were 6, 5, and 5, respectively ( P < .001). The highest annual case volumes per oncologist were in Pakistan (median consults, 950; 73% > 500 consults), India (median consults, 475; 43% > 500), and Turkey (median consults, 475; 27% > 500). Conclusion There is substantial global variation in medical oncology case volumes and clinical workload; this is most striking among LMICs, where huge deficits exist. Additional work is needed, particularly detailed country-level mapping, to quantify activity-based global MO practice and workload to inform training needs and the design of new pathways and models of care.

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