Publication Abstract

Authors: Henrikson NB, Lau RW, Tuzzio L, Christianson M, Phan TH, Chen E

Title: Treatment Prices at the Point of Care in a Clinical Oncology Service: Pilot Project.

Journal: J Oncol Pract 12(10):e957-e963

Date: 2016 Oct

Abstract: PURPOSE: Patients with cancer increasingly wish to discuss cancer care costs with clinicians. We aimed to improve clinician access to treatment prices. METHODS: We developed a pilot tool and accompanying workflow for four oncology clinics in an integrated care system. The online tool included 50 printable worksheets for cancer treatment protocols and was accessible directly from the electronic health record. Each sheet included codes and prices for all drugs and services for one treatment cycle in patient-friendly language. The worksheets did not provide patient-level cost-shares. We evaluated the resource's launch, initial use, and acceptability through a convenience survey of initial users. RESULTS: The project was successfully launched. Initial Web traffic to price sheets exceeded the number of treatments ordered during the launch period. One third of survey respondents reported use of the cost sheets at least once a week. The most useful features were improved access to cost information, treatment protocol-based layout, and ability to meet patient needs. The resource was rated as generally high value to patients, staff, and the organization. Suggested improvements included provision of patient-level cost sharing (63%) followed by expansion of the project to include more protocols (33%). These improvements are in progress. CONCLUSION: The pilot was feasible, built capacity to locate price data, and did not adversely affect staff workload. It addressed a clear need and demonstrated high potential overall value, especially with its protocol-based format. The resource's lack of personalized estimates of out-of-pocket charges was the biggest gap reported.