WATERTOWN, Mass.--The American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal (ACSO) has accepted the manuscript, “Reducing Cancer Costs through Symptom Management and Triage Pathways,” for publication in its Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP). The manuscript, submitted by executives from Archway Health and colleagues, details the results of a six-month study, that identified significant cost-savings and reductions in unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations when cancer patients are proactively engaged, managed and supported throughout the cancer treatment process. The published manuscript can be read in full by visiting the Journal of Oncology Practice.
The manuscript was authored by Ronald Barkley, M.S., J.D., Cancer Center Business Development Group; Mah-Jabeen Soobader, Ph.D., MPH, Chief Analytics Officer, Archway Health; Jun Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Data Scientist, Archway Health; Sibel Blau, M.D. Northwest Medical Specialties; and Ray D. Page, D.O., Ph.D., Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
“We worked on this study because we know that to positively influence adoption of value-based initiatives, we need to evaluate whether early and more appropriate interventions can drive improved clinical care of patients while simultaneously driving down costs. Healthcare professionals will need to understand the quantifiable impact,” said Dr. Mah-Jabeen Soobader, Chief Analytics Officer at Archway. "The study's findings clearly demonstrate the benefit that this approach can have on improving care for cancer patients while reducing the total cost of care. We are pleased to be recognized by JOP for our work and grateful that as a result, our research may have a broader impact on improving healthcare."
The study participants were The Center for Blood & Cancer Disorders (CCBD) of Fort Worth, Texas, and Northwest Medical Specialties (NWMS) of Tacoma, Washington. During the six-month study, the teams identified 222 instances where an ER event was likely avoided as a result of symptom management and triage pathways programs deployed at the two practices. The estimated cost savings associated with these avoided ER events was $3.85 million. These results were quantified by screening ER triage program-generated care management records, and validated by an independent analysis of Medicare claim data from the Oncology Care Model (OCM) program.
“My philosophy is that all patients should receive the highest quality medical care, which requires persistent research to develop and update best practices," said Dr. Ray D. Page, President of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. “It’s an honor to have spearheaded this research and to share it with the oncology community so that we can continue providing the finest care.”
The study concluded that deployment of a practice-level integrated platform incorporating physician-scripted symptom management protocols and telephone triage pathways allows for the avoidance of a substantial volume of ER events and associated hospitalizations. That conclusion can help facilitate estimation of savings associated with value-based oncology care, which has been difficult to date.
“Improvement in cancer care requires research with collaboration of community oncology practices generating wealth of data that can be used to put better practices and protocols into action,” said Dr. Sibel Blau, Medical Director of Oncology at Northwest Medical Specialties. “I am proud to be a part of this collaborative work and that my patients could participate.