New Survey Finds Nearly Two out of Three Infusion Centers are Still Struggling with Staff Shortages

By November 7, 2023 December 16th, 2023 News

LeanTaaS, Inc., the market leader in providing AI-powered and SaaS-based capacity management, staffing, and patient flow software for health systems, today announced the release of its annual The State of Cancer Centers in 2023 Special Report, capturing the firsthand experiences and insights of nearly 100 nursing directors and operational leaders from a diverse set of cancer centers nationwide. The survey aims to identify industry trends, understand the contemporary challenges plaguing cancer centers, and uncover the transformative potential of AI-driven technology to address these issues. The top three focus areas that are ripe for AI-driven transformation are ongoing staffing shortages, operational constraints, and access to data and AI in healthcare.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 64% of infusion centers say staffing shortages are still causing challenges, with centers reporting a 15% increase year-over-year in higher nurse-to-patient ratios and 13% increase year-over-year in longer patient wait times
  • 51% of infusion centers experience overbooking frequently, very frequently or almost always
  • 49% of infusion centers are actively pursuing growth and expanding their service lines, signaling a major shift away from pandemic restrictions
  • 40% of infusion centers say the biggest barrier to days running smoothly is unbalanced schedules with too many appointments in the middle of the day
  • 40% of infusion centers say the biggest gap in using data for operational decision making is data being difficult to access
  • 31% of infusion centers would consider using AI to improve their operations but they do not know of any tools that do so, and 26% have concerns around AI’s safety and security

“Infusion centers are one of the most critical areas of the healthcare ecosystem, yet they are still grappling with a multitude of operational challenges and resource constraints that impact day-to-day workflows, nurse satisfaction, and patient care,” said Ashley Joseph, VP of Client Services, Infusion Centers at LeanTaaS. “With nearly two thirds of respondents struggling with staff shortages and half of respondents pursuing growth, the only way to accommodate patient demand in this highly constrained environment is to unlock capacity and resources through a combination of AI, automation, and smart operational choices.”

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 5,365 new cases of cancer are diagnosed per day in the U.S., amounting to nearly 2 million diagnoses in 2023. Infusion scheduling has always been a hard problem to solve and balancing operational constraints, accommodating fluctuating nurse schedules, and addressing the unique needs of seriously ill patients make crafting a schedule a highly complex endeavor.

The cloud-based iQueue for Infusion Centers leverages AI and predictive analytics to help centers stay operationally agile — optimizing scheduling templates, flagging future problem days for preventive action, and identifying which appointments should be rescheduled to improve the experience for patients and staff alike. Critically, iQueue also helps make the most of existing staffing resources with tools that allow nursing leads to quickly create assignments for the day, balance appointment load across a team, and make data-driven decisions to proactively match nursing schedules with appointment schedules for the coming week. Cancer centers who implement iQueue for Infusion Centers have seen a 50% decrease in staff overtime, 15% average increase in patients served, and 30% average wait time reduction at the busiest times. iQueue customers also generate an additional $20k per infusion chair per year, and see a significant increase in nurse satisfaction, reduction of burnout, and preservation of scarce nursing resources.

Over 600 infusion centers – including more than 80% of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and 55% of National Cancer Institute members – rely on iQueue for Infusion Centers to increase access, decrease patient wait time, and lower healthcare delivery costs.