From statistics to savings

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The ISPOR 20th Annual European Congress in Scotland benefited from insight and analysis spanning the gamut of topics from modelling to outcomes. One of the presentations at the event was delivered by South Africa’s Loamie Kotze, a statistician at MSH, in which she examined the methodology, data, and results of her research into the cost impact of protocol compliance in the oncology environment.


At the conference, Kotze took attendees through the study she had developed entitled ‘Cost Impact of Protocol Compliance for Cancer Treatment Plans in the Private Healthcare Environment’ . The aim of the study was to assess the clinical and cost impact of ICON (Independent Clinical Oncology Network) in a third-party funder environment.

“The ICON protocols that are used to determine treatment and cost are evidence-based. These are put together by a specialist Oncology Network, that uses clinical data to support protocol selections. The goal here was to answer one of the most important questions when it comes to oncology care within this protocol-driven system – if provider driven protocols are followed (i.e. the right patient, getting the right care at the right time), are you saving money?”

Kotze took attendees through the methodology she used to ascertain the answer to this question. The data was taken from eAuth®(ICON’s online pre-authorisation platform) over a period of 24 months where submissions were governed by a requirement to adhere to treatment protocols. The clinical factors influencing treatment cost were identified as: diagnosis, age group, treatment phase (metastatic and non-metastatic) and treatment duration. These factors were used to adjust for case-mix – a term used to define the breakdown of factors influencing results.

“The ICON solution supports protocols and integrates evidence-based medicine and shows a reduction in costs compared to scenarios where no protocol restrictions apply,” says Kotze. “Treatment subjected to evidence-based protocols cost significantly less while showing no evidence of denial of quality care compared with treatment under no protocol constraint.”

The presentation was met with a positive reception at the ISPOR-led event, with many delegates responding to the data with interest. ISPOR is the leading global professional society in pharmaeconomics and outcomes research. The organisation has been running since 1995, with more than 20 years of commitment to promoting health economics and outcomes research to improve healthcare decision making globally. The 20th annual conference forms part of the society’s focus on improving health outcomes through a variety of methodologies.

“It was the first time I had presented at a conference and it was a new experience,” Kotze concludes. “I hope that this body of work will allow people to ask questions and get in touch so we can continuously improve the way we work.”


1 Kotze, L. (2017). Cost Impact of Protocol Compliance for Cancer Treatment Plans in the Private Healthcare Environment. Value in Health. 20 (Issue 9), A426-A427). https://www.ispor.org/VIH/JVAL_OctNov-20-9.pdf

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