Research

Reduce Unwarranted Care Variation in Oncology

    care variation in oncology

    Cancer programs are facing a time of unprecedented financial uncertainty. Increasing margin pressure, growing patient consumerism, continuing consolidation, and the move toward value-based care put more pressure on health systems to minimize their costs while improving the quality of care.

    As budgets tighten, traditional cost reduction measures, such as labor and supplies, will no longer be sufficient. As a result, according to the 2017 Trending Now in Cancer Care survey, clinical standardization was identified as the top opportunity for cancer program cost savings.

    However, a lack of clarity and multiple interpretations of care standardization often cause provider hesitation and resistance. Before implementing the tactics outlined in this research report, cancer program leaders should educate physicians and staff on the goals and importance of reducing unwarranted care variation. This report discusses three different approaches:

    1. Tracking and reporting adherence to nationally-recognized guidelines, such as the Choosing Wisely recommendations
    2. Implementing clinical pathways, which guide physicians to choose treatments based on efficacy, toxicity, and cost
    3. Developing cross-continuum care pathways that help standardize point-of-care clinical decisions as well as interactions with the care team across the entire patient journey

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