Defining Value in Radiation Oncology: Approaches to Weighing Benefits vs. Costs

In Oncology, Andre Konski considers health care payment models and the transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment as it applies to radiation oncology. Konski examines difficulties in determining value, pointing out that both patients and payers could be considered health care ‘customers’ . He assesses how traditional cost-effective analyses may not be suitable for novel radiation oncology therapies, especially as consumers are increasingly conscious of the costs of treatment plans. He argues that radiation oncologists must consider the cost to patients when designing treatment plans, including direct and indirect medical costs, and productivity costs – for example, time lost from work when patients must travel to a cancer clinic. Lastly, Konski argues that higher radiation doses given over a shorter course of treatment could increase patient value by reducing all involved costs.