Expert Centers for Ovarian Cancer Are Cost-Effective

While costs per patient are higher, quality-adjusted life years nearly doubled

THURSDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- While patients with advanced ovarian cancer who are treated at expert centers have higher overall costs than patients treated at less-experienced medical centers, the strategy is more cost-effective over time, according to a report published online March 12 in Cancer.

Robert E. Bristow, M.D., from the Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, and colleagues used a decision-analysis model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of centralized referral of patients with advanced-stage epithelial ovarian cancer who underwent cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy.

The analysis showed that referral to an expert center had a cost of $50,652 per patient, which was accompanied by an effectiveness of 5.12 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). A less-experienced center carried a lower overall cost, at $39,957 per patient, but also had lower effectiveness (2.33 QALYs). The overall cost-effectiveness, or cost as a function of QALY, was lower for the expert center ($9,893 per QALY compared with $17,149 per QALY).

"Centralized referral of patients with ovarian cancer to an expert center was a cost-effective health care strategy and represents a paradigm for quality cancer care, delivering superior patient outcomes at an economically affordable cost," the authors conclude. "Increased efforts to align current patterns of care with a universal strategy of centralized expert referral are warranted."

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