Cost-Consequence Analysis Alongside a Randomised Controlled Trial of Hospital Versus Telephone Follow-Up after Treatment for Endometrial Cancer

Dixon, Padraig, Beaver, Kinta orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6552-2323, Williamson, Susan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9635-4473, Sutton, Chris J orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6406-1318, Martin-Hirsch, Pierre and Hollingworth, William (2018) Cost-Consequence Analysis Alongside a Randomised Controlled Trial of Hospital Versus Telephone Follow-Up after Treatment for Endometrial Cancer. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 16 (3). pp. 415-427. ISSN 1175-5652

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Regular outpatient follow-up programmes are usually offered to patients following treatment for gynaecological and other cancers. Despite the substantial resources involved in providing these programmes, there is evidence that routine follow-up programmes do not affect survival or the likelihood of detecting recurrence and may not meet patient needs. Alternative follow-up modalities may offer the same outcomes at lower cost. We examined the costs of using telephone-based routine follow-up of women treated for endometrial cancer undertaken by specialist gynaecology oncology nurses in comparison to routine hospital-based follow-up.

The ENDCAT trial randomised 259 women at five centres in the north west of England with a known diagnosis of Stage I endometrial cancer who had completed primary treatment on a 1:1 basis to receive either standard hospital outpatient follow-up or a telephone follow-up intervention administered by specialist nurses. A cost-consequence analysis was undertaken in which we compared costs to the health system and to individuals with the trial’s co-primary outcomes of psychological morbidity and participant satisfaction with information received.

Psychological morbidity, psychosocial needs, patient satisfaction and quality of life did not differ between arms. Patients randomised to telephone follow-up underwent more and longer consultations. There was no difference in total health service mean per patient costs at 6 months (mean difference £8, 95% percentile confidence interval: − £147 to £141) or 12 months (mean difference: − £77, 95% percentile confidence interval: − £334 to £154). Estimated return journey costs per patient for hospital consultations were £11.47. Productivity costs were approximately twice as high under hospital follow-up.

Telephone follow-up was estimated to be cost-neutral for the NHS and may free up clinic time for other patients. There was some evidence that telephone follow-up may be more efficient for patients and wider society, and is not associated with additional psychological morbidity, lower patient satisfaction or reduced quality of life.

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