Dr. Patel on Cost-Effective Strategies for Oncologists

Kashyap Patel, MD
Published: Thursday, Nov 01, 2018



Kashyap Patel, MD, president, Carolina Blood and Cancer Center, medical director, International Oncology Network, discusses cost-effective practices for oncologists.

Biosimilars are a rational solution for overcoming the rising issue of cost in oncology, but it is going to take some time before this class of drugs becomes part of routine clinical practice, Patel says. However, there are certain areas of practice that he refers to as “low-hanging fruit” that contribute to cost but can be addressed a lot more quickly.

First, providers can work towards reducing unnecessary hospitalization. Patients should be seen only when necessary, says Patel, and this is a financial component that has not been discussed.

The second area deals with providing appropriate end-of-life care. Currently, about 9% of patients who succumb to cancer do so in the hospital or intensive care unit—this is something that should not be happening, Patel notes. An additional factor is site of care delivery. For example, recently published studies show that the physician’s office is the most cost-effective place to deliver therapy.

With that being said, it is important to remember that high drug prices are the result of innovation, Patel says. Without innovation, oncologists will not find a cure for cancer.
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Kashyap Patel, MD, president, Carolina Blood and Cancer Center, medical director, International Oncology Network, discusses cost-effective practices for oncologists.

Biosimilars are a rational solution for overcoming the rising issue of cost in oncology, but it is going to take some time before this class of drugs becomes part of routine clinical practice, Patel says. However, there are certain areas of practice that he refers to as “low-hanging fruit” that contribute to cost but can be addressed a lot more quickly.

First, providers can work towards reducing unnecessary hospitalization. Patients should be seen only when necessary, says Patel, and this is a financial component that has not been discussed.

The second area deals with providing appropriate end-of-life care. Currently, about 9% of patients who succumb to cancer do so in the hospital or intensive care unit—this is something that should not be happening, Patel notes. An additional factor is site of care delivery. For example, recently published studies show that the physician’s office is the most cost-effective place to deliver therapy.

With that being said, it is important to remember that high drug prices are the result of innovation, Patel says. Without innovation, oncologists will not find a cure for cancer.



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