Most National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) member institutions support patients’ transportation needs, but there is a lack of routine screening for transportation insecurity, according to research published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
A survey of NCCN member institutions revealed that 96% provide support to cancer patients with transportation needs via screening, coordinating, and/or funding transportation. However, only 33% of institutions surveyed used routine screening.
The survey was sent to 31 NCCN member institutions, and 25 (81%) responded. All but 1 of the institutions said they support the transportation needs of their patients.
About one-third of institutions (33%) had a standardized approach for identifying transportation needs, such as universal screening for social risk factors performed at regular intervals.
Instead, transportation needs were most often identified by a combination of social workers (96%), clinicians (83%), and patients themselves (79%).
“We found that the most common methods of screening were through referrals to social workers, clinicians triggering referrals, or patients declaring their need,” the researchers wrote. “Without systematic screening practices, patients who may benefit from transportation assistance (eg, those with financial hardship, have long distances to travel, or are physically impaired by their specific type of cancer or treatment regimen) may not be identified and linked to necessary services.”
The researchers also found that funding for transportation was obtained through a variety of sources, including philanthropy (88%), grants (63%), internal dollars (63%), and insurance coverage (58%).
“Opportunities exist to establish more structured, scalable, and sustainable programs for patients’ transportation needs,” the researchers concluded.
Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Some authors are employed by NCCN. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Chaiyachati KH, Krause D, Sugalski J, et al. A survey of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network on approaches toward addressing patients’ transportation insecurity. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. Published online January 2023. doi:10.6004/jnccn.2022.7073