In an industry where every moment can be the difference between life and death, operational efficiency is critical. For the healthcare industry, and specifically cancer hospitals, the hub and spoke model is truly revolutionary and offers a host of solutions to multiple operational challenges. It is an organizational model that arranges service delivery assets in a network with one primary (hub) establishment and multiple secondary establishments (spokes). The idea is to offer healthcare at all the spokes, and refer the patients requiring more intensive treatment to the hub.

Benefits of the hub and spoke model

  • Consistency across establishments – With a hierarchical structure in place, a hub and spoke model offers a uniform patient care experience.
  • Increased efficiency – With a centralized approach, duplication of services is no longer a concern and a return on investment is inevitable. 
  • Enhanced quality – By pooling resources and expertise in a strategic manner system-wide excellence is possible.
  • Better market coverage – With lower resource requirements at the spoke level, establishing operations in new regions is easier and more cost-efficient. Services are also now accessible to more people.
  • Improved agility – All the points above combine to create a highly agile healthcare organization. This agility is especially important as it ensures that the organization evolves as quickly as the markets.

The TMC model

The Tata Memorial Centre, India’s premier cancer hospital and research center aims to create 30 such hubs, and between 100 and 130 spokes around the country to meet the needs of the people. Each hub is expected to see an estimated intake of 40,000 new patients annually, while spokes are expected to manage intake of 8,000 new patients. The idea is to cover over 40 million people each via hubs and between 5-10 million people via spokes. This has other major benefits too – reduced costs and easier transport and treatment options for patients around the country. This is especially significant in areas where cancer -care facilities may not be up to the required standard. 

Prevalence of cancer in India

Around 16,00,000 new cancer cases are reported annually in India. Of these, the estimated mortality rate is around 8,00,000 every year. In men, gastrointestinal-tract cancer cases account for around 2,00,000 cases while breast cancer (1,40,000 cases) and cervical cancer (1,00,000 cases) are reported by women around the country. In North-East India, the prevalence and incidence of cancer are much higher than in other parts of the country. The trend has been consistently rising over the last few years and is considerably higher than the national average for many types of cancer, which is cause for concern. 

The final word

The hub and spoke model allow cancer hospitals to act in a highly effective, yet fiscally responsible manner. It ensures that people in the most remote parts of the country have access to the right facilities when the need arises. It helps healthcare providers focus on providing the right level of patient care while keeping the needs of the patient in mind all the time. In a country where access to medical resources and facilities is still a work-in-progress, the hub and spoke model is a great way to move forward.