At the University of Arizona Cancer Center, Banner University Medical Center Tucson, a multidisciplinary team of physicians, pharmacy staff, finance specialists, social workers, nursing staff, and information technologists first identified chemotherapy regimens administered in the inpatient setting that could be safely administered in the outpatient setting, and then implemented a transition plan that included provider and patient education. Benefits included reduced inpatient medical resources and chemotherapy costs, decreased inpatient bed stay, lower infection rates, improved quality of life, and decreased overall cost of care—conservatively estimated at almost $6 million.
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To improve patient care and reduce overall costs, the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson transitioned to delivering select chemotherapies in its ambulatory clinics. Doing so took a significant coordinated effort. The task of assessing which chemotherapies could be safely administered in the outpatient setting took a multidisciplinary team a full year. The team then developed workflows for each chemotherapy to be administered in outpatient clinics and educated staff about the relevant chemotherapies’ potential side effects and toxicities. A year and a half after launching the effort, the University of Arizona Cancer Center transitioned to administering select chemotherapy its ambulatory clinics, reducing overnight hospital stays and lowering costs to patients and the health system.”
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As those of us in oncology have seen over the years, the cost of chemotherapy across the board continues to rise. In some cases, oncology drug prices increased at an exponential rate. Looking at anti-cancer drug costs at time of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval from 2014 to 2019, these costs surpassed the $10,000 range and are close to a cost of $100,000 per one month of treatment.
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