Widespread Use of Navigation Program Could Decrease Cancer Costs of Care

By Leah Lawrence - November 1, 2022

A cancer navigation program was able to reduce overall costs when used in collaboration with a health plan across a wide geography and range of practice types, according to a study presented at the 2022 ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

Researchers led by Robert Green, MD, a medical oncologist and co-founder of Thyme Care, assessed whether an independent cancer-patient navigation program used in collaboration with a Medicare Advantage plan could result in cost savings when deployed across a wide variety of practice settings in New Jersey. The program, Thyme Care, is a technology-enabled virtual cancer-navigation platform.

The retrospective study determined the per member per month (PMPM) total cost of care (TCOC) difference between patients with and without a navigation intervention.

These outcomes were assessed in 4172 eligible members: 662 in the treatment group and 3510 in the control group. Propensity matching resulted in 188 members in both groups.

Patients treated with the navigation care team had 2.6 interactions PMPM on average; 81% of those interactions were outbound communications initiated by the care team.

The mean TCOC decreased $459 more PMPM among patients treated with navigation as compared with the non-navigation group. During the same time period, the navigation program resulted in 6.8% fewer cumulative inpatient visits at month 10. Sensitivity analyses suggested that the range of savings could be from $209 to $708 PMPM with cancer navigation.

The researchers are looking to expand this program into other health plans and geographic areas, and to continue to evolve interventions.



Evaluating the Effect of a Scalable Cancer-Navigation Program on Total Cost of Care