Background: A new model of care was trialed across two Victorian regional settings. The intervention was delivered by the Survivorship Nurse Clinic, integrating GP and specialists’ care to ensure patients received care according to their needs to reduce the physiological and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis.
Aim: To evaluate the cost and health outcomes associated with the pilot intervention.
Methods: A cost-outcome analysis was undertaken, whereby the intervention costs were compared to the patient outcomes. The economic assessment was conducted from the health sector perspective and participants completed the Assessment of Quality of Life – 8 Dimensions (AQoL-8D)1 and healthcare resource use questionnaires at baseline and 3 month follow-up.
Results: Findings from the AQoL-8D instrument (n=78) at baseline showed the participants reported poorer quality of life, compared to population norms (0.68 versus pop norm 0.8)2. At follow-up there was a slight improvement in the overall utility score from 0.68 to 0.70. Inspection of the two super-dimensions of the scale indicated small improvements in mental health (from 0.40 to 0.43) and physical health (from 0.62 to 0.64). However, these differences were not statistically significant. The annual cost of the intervention was approximately $145,000. Forty-seven participants received referrals for allied health and community services from the first survivorship consultation. At the 3 month follow-up, 75 referrals had been attended or were still to be attended. Total cost of these referrals was $5,029 with $3,166 reimbursed by the Government or private health insurance and $1,863 paid by patients’ out-of-pocket. For each patient who received referrals, the average cost was $186 per person and $67 per referral.
Conclusions: The evaluation demonstrated the intervention did not incur high cost. It is expected the next level of evaluation for this intervention will include a comparison group so that a full economic appraisal will be possible.