Aetna, Texas Oncology cancer program reduced costs for 500+ patients by $3M+

A cancer management program between Dallas-based Texas Oncology and Aetna reduced total costs by more than $3 million, while improving patient adherence and satisfaction, according to a study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice.

The study, which ran three years from June 2013 to May 2016, enrolled 746 patients with nine common cancer diagnoses. Patients who chose to partake in the patient support services were telephoned by oncology nurses. The oncology nurses assessed patients' symptoms and quality of life, and introduced advance care planning to the patients.

To calculate shared cost savings under the program, researchers compared drug costs, hospitalization and emergency room use for 509 patients in the study group with 900 Medicare Advantage patients who received care from providers who were unaffiliated with Texas Oncology. Researchers also studied physician adherence to treatment pathways and evaluated quality and performance metrics.

What they found is within three years, the program saved $3,033,248, with savings increasing each year. Per patient per treatment, drugs savings were about $1,874. In addition, for the first, second and third years, treatment adherence was 81 percent, 84 percent and 90 percent; patient satisfaction was 94 percent, 93 percent and 94 percent, and hospice enrollment was 55 percent, 57 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

"A practice-based program supported by a payer sponsor can reduce costs while maintaining high adherence to treatment pathways and patient satisfaction in older patients," the study authors concluded. 

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