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The Eight-Step Oncology Market Assessment


With a market assessment, oncology leaders can make well-informed decisions about service line strategy.

A market assessment provides the data and information you need to develop a market‑leading strategy, make principled investment decisions, and ensure your cancer program’s future prosperity.

This research briefing will take you step-by-step through a market assessment on your own, using some of our tools.

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Are you letting yesterday’s market assessment mislead you?

The cancer care market is always changing—cancer incidence is set to grow 25% nationally over the next decade due to population growth and aging. Oncology programs will also have to respond to new treatment technologies, regulatory and reimbursement changes, continued provider consolidation, and intensifying competition.

If you want the most accurate and up-to-date data to inform your decisions, you need to update your market assessment regularly.

This guide gives cancer programs the guidance and tools they need to perform two types of market assessments: an exploratory assessment, which takes the general pulse of your market, and a directed market assessment, which explores whether current or future market demand can support your specific investment plans.

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Market assessment

1. Size your market
Start with the big picture—determine the size of the market for cancer care in your region by estimating current and future cancer incidence. This data will help inform capacity needs, capital investments, placement of new facilities and services, and tumor site program investments.

Tool: Cancer Incidence Estimator

2. Quantify demand for services
Once you know the number of new cancer cases in your market, you can quantify cancer patients’ demand to ensure that you are offering the right services for your population and develop a better sense for the downstream volumes that the cancer program brings to the overall health system.

Tool: Oncology Market Estimator

3. Analyze the competitive landscape
Remember that market fragmentation often signals an opportunity to grow volumes. In addition, if patients in your market are seeking care at other programs, you’ll want to determine where they go so you can develop a strategy to retain them.

Tool: Market Share Calculator
Tool: Oncology Medicare Market Explorer
Worksheet: Financial Opportunity Worksheet
Worksheet: Competitor Analysis Worksheet

4. Consider market demographics
Patient characteristics such as health status, smoking status, insurance status, race, sex, and age also impact the services they need, so you should review the demographic and health-related data for your market.

Tool: County Health Rankings and Roadmap

Supplemental analyses

5. Pinpoint outmigration
Many cancer programs are able to attract patients for care, but then lose them at some point along the care continuum. Identifying when this “outmigration” occurs is the first clue to why patients are leaving. Further investigation will help you identify the root of the problem and take steps to stem the flow.

Worksheet: Outmigration Treatment Modality Conversion Worksheet

6. Conduct a self-assessment
You may have hidden strengths that you could leverage to grow market share, or a weakness that can be easily corrected and lead to outsized benefits. We recommend you engage the perspectives of other stakeholders as part of this step—discussing differences can lead to agreeing on strategic goals.

Tool: Tumor Site Program Resource Grids
Worksheet: Self-Assessment Worksheet

7. Perform a qualitative market scan
Market data will never give you the full picture. You also need to draw upon your experience living and working in your community, as well as your knowledge of the changing health care landscape. You can use this information in conjunction with quantitative data to inform your decision-making process

Worksheet: Driving Forces Analysis Worksheet

8. Conduct a comparative analysis
You likely have many opportunities to grow and advance your cancer program—but you likely also have limited resources and will need to make tough choices about where to invest. These worksheets can help you zero in on your program's best opportunities.

Tool: Tumor Site Dashboards
Worksheet: Tumor Site Opportunity Worksheet
Worksheet: Market Worksheet

Want a guide on how to use the resources included in this brief? Make sure you check out our tool and worksheet compendium.

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