In recent years, both the cost and efficiency of medical care have emerged as important considerations and areas of research. These considerations are of particular importance in the outpatient community oncology setting, where the demands for clinical productivity and evidence for quality and effectiveness are increasing amidst an evolving reimbursement system.
Barry Fortner, PhD
Many factors can affect decisions about chemotherapy and supportive care, including disease outcome, patient quality of life, and drug toxicities. Chemotherapy and supportive therapy may require numerous medical visits that may significantly affect patients and their caregivers. It has recently been shown that practice resources should also be considered in evaluating the full impact of medical visits. To this end, increasing the efficiency of a practice may help ensure the viability of delivering quality care. Greater efficiency can lead to improvements in the quality of life of patients and their caregivers, lower practice operating expenditures, and increase practice capacity and productivity. Chemotherapy-induced anemia is common in patients with cancer, and erythropoiesis-stimulating proteins (ESPs) can lessen its incidence and severity but may require many additional medical visits. This article discusses the importance of establishing efficiency in the oncology practice and considers the role of coordinating tests and procedures, specifically the role of available scheduling options for growth factors. Synchronizing treatments with ESPs and chemotherapy may increase patient convenience and improve practice efficiencies.