Cost-Effectiveness of Reduced Waiting Time for Head and Neck Cancer Patients due to a Lean Process Redesign

Jul 1, 2015, 00:00 AM
Section Title : Economic Evaluation
Section Order : 6
First Page : 587


Compared with new technologies, the redesign of care processes is generally considered less attractive to improve patient outcomes. Nevertheless, it might result in better patient outcomes, without further increasing costs. Because early initiation of treatment is of vital importance for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC), these care processes were redesigned.


This study aimed to assess patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness of this redesign.


An economic (Markov) model was constructed to evaluate the biopsy process of suspicious lesion under local instead of general anesthesia, and combining computed tomography and positron emission tomography for diagnostics and radiotherapy planning. Patients treated for HNC were included in the model stratified by disease location (larynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and oral cavity) and stage (I–II and III–IV). Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed.


Waiting time before treatment start reduced from 5 to 22 days for the included patient groups, resulting in 0.13 to 0.66 additional quality-adjusted life-years. The new workflow was cost-effective for all the included patient groups, using a ceiling ratio of €80,000 or €20,000. For patients treated for tumors located at the larynx and oral cavity, the new workflow resulted in additional quality-adjusted life-years, and costs decreased compared with the regular workflow. The health care payer benefited €14.1 million and €91.5 million, respectively, when individual net monetary benefits were extrapolated to an organizational level and a national level.


The redesigned care process reduced the waiting time for the treatment of patients with HNC and proved cost-effective. Because care improved, implementation on a wider scale should be considered.
HEOR Topics :
  • Cost-comparison, Effectiveness, Utility, Benefit Analysis
  • Economic Evaluation
  • Oncology
  • Specific Diseases & Conditions
Tags :
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • economic evaluation
  • head and neck
  • process redesign
  • waiting time
Regions :
  • Africa
  • Eastern and Central Europe
  • Middle East
  • Western Europe