Cost analysis of a speech pathology synchronous telepractice service for patients with head and neck cancer

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Burns, Clare L
Kularatna, Sanjeewa
Ward, Elizabeth C
Hill, Anne J
Byrnes, Joshua
Kenny, Lizbeth M
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2017
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Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study is to report the economic outcomes of a new synchronous telepractice service providing speech pathology intervention to patients with head and neck cancer at nonmetropolitan facilities. Methods

A multisite randomized controlled trial comparing standard care versus a new synchronous telepractice model was conducted within a large Australian public cancer service. Data pertaining to health service costs (staff wages, equipment, and patient travel reimbursement), patient +/- carer costs (travel and wages), and patient-reported quality of life (Assessment of Quality of Life questionnaire 4D) were collected. Results

Eighty-two referrals (39 standard care and 43 synchronous telepractice care) were managed. The new telepractice service reported average cost savings of 12% (P < .0058) for the health service and $40.05 saving per patient per referral. An equivalent positive increase in quality of life (0.04) was reported for both groups. Conclusion

The synchronous telepractice service provides cost efficiencies over standard care for providing remote specialist speech pathology head and neck cancer intervention.

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Head and Neck
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39
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Health economics
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