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The cost-effectiveness of molecular pathology testing is highly context dependent. The field is fast-moving, and national health technology assessment may not be relevant or timely for local decision makers. This study illustrates a method of context-specific economic evaluation that can be carried out in a limited timescale without extensive resources.
We established a multi-disciplinary group including an oncologist, pathologists and a health economist. We set out diagnostic and treatment pathways and costs using registry data, health technology assessments, guidelines, audit data, and estimates from the group. Sensitivity analysis varied input parameters across plausible ranges. The evaluation setting was the West of Scotland and UK NHS perspective was adopted. The evaluation was assessed against the AdHopHTA checklist for hospital-based health technology assessment.
A context-specific economic evaluation could be carried out on a timely basis using limited resources. The evaluation met all relevant criteria in the AdHopHTA checklist. Health outcomes were expected to be at least equal to the current strategy. Annual cost savings of £637,000 were estimated resulting primarily from a reduction in the proportion of patients receiving intravenous infusional chemotherapy regimens. The result was not sensitive to any parameter. The data driving the main cost saving came from a small clinical audit. We recommended this finding was confirmed in a larger population.
The method could be used to evaluate testing changes elsewhere. The results of the case study may be transferable to other jurisdictions where the organization of cancer services is fragmented.
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