Ten Trends Transforming Cancer Care and Their Effects on Space Planning for Academic Medical Centers

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This article aims to define the major trends currently affecting space needs for academic medical center (AMC) cancer centers. It will distinguish between the trends that promote the concentration of services with those that promote decentralization as well as identify opportunities for achieving greater effectiveness in cancer care space planning.


Changes in cancer care—higher survival rates, increased clinical trials, new technology, and changing practice models—increasingly fill hospitals’ and clinicians’ schedules and strain clinical space resources. Conflicts among these trends are concentrating some services and dispersing others. As a result, AMCs must expand and renovate intelligently to continue providing state-of-the-art, compassionate care.


Although the typical AMC cancer center can expect to utilize more space than it would have 10 years ago, a deeper understanding of the cancer center enterprise can lead to opportunities for more effectively using available facility resources. Each AMC must determine for itself the appropriate balance of patient volume, clinical activity, and services between its main hospital campus and satellite branches. As well, space allocation should be flexible, as care trends, medical technology, and the provider’s own priorities shift over time. The goal isn’t necessarily more space—it’s better space.

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