A cost analysis of febrile neutropenia management in Australia: ambulatory v. in-hospital treatment

S Lingaratnam, L Worth, M Slavin, C Bennett, S Kirsa, J Seymour, Andrew Dalton, Bogda Koczwara, H Prince, M O'Reilly, L Mileshkin, J Szer, K Thursky

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Background. Adult febrile neutropenic oncology patients, at low risk of developing medical complications, may be effectively and safely managed in an ambulatory setting, provided they are appropriately selected and adequate supportive facilities and clinical services are available to monitor these patients and respond to any clinical deterioration. Methods. A cost analysis was modelled using decision tree analysis, published cost and effectiveness parameters for ambulatory care strategies and data from the State of Victoria's hospital morbidity dataset. Two-way sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulation were performed to evaluate the uncertainty of costs and outcomes associated with ambulatory care. Results. The modelled cost analysis showed that cost savings for two ambulatory care strategies were ∼30% compared to standard hospital care. The weighted average cost saving per episode of 'low-risk' febrile neutropenia using Strategy 1 (outpatient follow-up only) was 35% (range: 755%) and that for Strategy 2 (early discharge and outpatient follow-up) was 30% (range: 739%). Strategy 2 was more cost-effective than Strategy 1 and was deemed the more clinically favoured approach. Conclusion. This study outlines a cost structure for a safe and comprehensive ambulatory care program comprised of an early discharge pathway with outpatient follow-up, and promotes this as a cost effective approach to managing 'low-risk' febrile neutropenic patients. What is known about the topic? Febrile neutropenia is a common complication of chemotherapy for patients with cancer. There is high level evidence supporting the use of ambulatory care strategies to manage patients with febrile neutropenia who are deemed to be at low risk of developing medical complications. What does this paper add? This paper highlights a cost structure for an adequately equipped and cost-effective ambulatory care strategy suitable for Australian hospitals to manage patients with low-risk febrile neutropenia. What are the implications for practitioners? The strategy advocated in this paper affords eligible patients the choice of early discharge from hospital. It advocates for improved resource utilisation and expansion of outpatient services in order to minimise opportunity costs faced by cancer treatment facilities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)491-500
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Health Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • ambulatory care
    • costs
    • economics


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