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Introduction of ultra-hypofractionation in breast cancer: implications for costs and resource use

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

PURPOSE: A shift towards (ultra-)hypofractionated breast irradiation can have important implications for the practice of contemporary radiation oncology. This paper presents a systematic analysis of the impact of different fractionation schedules on multiple key performance indicators, namely resource use, costs, work times, throughput and waiting times.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Time-driven activity-based costing (TD-ABC) is applied to calculate the costs and resources consumed where the perspective of the radiotherapy department in adopted. Three fractionation regimens are considered: ultra-hypofractionation (5 x 5.2 Gy, UHF), moderate hypofractionation (15 x 2.67 Gy, HF) and conventional fractionation (25 x 2 Gy, CF). Subsequently, a discrete event simulation (DES) model of the radiotherapy care pathway is developed and scenarios are compared in which the following factors are varied: distribution of fractionation regimens, patient volume and operating hours.

RESULTS: The application of (U)HF can permit radiotherapy departments to reduce the use of scarce resources, realise work time and cost savings, increase throughput and reduce waiting times. The financial advantages of (U)HF are, however, reduced in cases of excess capacity and cost savings may therefore be limited in the short-term. Moreover, although an extension of operating hours has favourable effects on throughput and waiting times, it may also reduce cost differences between fractionation schedules by increasing the capacity of resources.

CONCLUSION: By providing an in-depth analysis of the consequences associated with a shift towards (U)HF in breast cancer, the present study demonstrates how a DES model based on TD-ABC costing can assist radiotherapy professionals in making data-driven decisions.

Journal: Radiotherapy & Oncology
ISSN: 0167-8140
Volume: 190
Publication year:2024