Objectives: Comparative economic evaluations of chemotherapy administered in hospital day-care units or in the home are relatively scarce. Furthermore, most existing evaluations do not include methodologic studies. This study seeks to compare the costs of anticancer chemotherapy with hospital at-home care versus a hospital day-care unit in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
Methods: This study is based on a randomized controlled crossover trial that included 42 patients, to whom chemotherapy courses were alternatively given in both settings. All cost categories were taken into account according to microcosting methods. A detailed assessment was performed on coordination and health care in both structures (marginal costs and average costs), from the viewpoint of society.
Results: The marginal cost for one chemotherapy administration was significantly higher with hospital at-home care than in the hospital day-care unit ($232.5 vs. $157, p < .0001). Conversely, the average cost was significantly lower with home care than at the hospital ($252.6 vs. $277.3, p = .0002).
Conclusions: The results show that the interest of developing home care in anticancer chemotherapy is questionable regarding costs. In the French healthcare system, where there is a surplus of hospital beds, marginal costs seem to be more relevant indicators in most cases than average costs.