The use of health IT to treat cancer patients could be a cost-effective way to improve the quality of cancer care and patient outcomes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Healthcare IT News reports.
For the study, U.S. Oncology Network researchers partnered with the consulting firm Milliman to evaluate the use and costs of cancer treatments in a commercially insured population.
The researchers used data from the Medstat insurance database, which houses private-sector data and claims information on about 14 million individuals and 100 payers. Fourteen cancer diagnoses were included for evaluation in 10 cancer groups.
The study found that commercially insured cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment had an average of $111,000 annually in total medical and pharmacy costs.
Michael Kolodziej -- the study's lead author, an oncologist at New York Oncology Hematology and chair of the U.S. Oncology Network's Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee -- said the study shows that the rising costs of cancer treatment need to be addressed and that the cancer care community should "focus on delivering high-quality, evidence-based medicine."
The study suggested that using health IT together with best practices, evidence-based treatment and quality measures will contribute to higher-quality cancer care, safety and improved patient outcomes (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 9/26).