Resource utilization, costs, and quality of end-of-life cancer care: A systematic review of retrospective cohort studies based on routinely collected data (1990-2011).

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Journal Article
J Clin Oncol, 2013, 31 (31_suppl), pp. 111 - ?
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111 Background: The last year of life is one of the most resource intensive periods in cancer care. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize retrospective observational studies examining resource utilization and costs at the end-of-life period in adult cancer patients. The purpose is to examine study methodology and outcomes, with a particular focus on studies using quality indicators. METHODS: We searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and York Centre for Research and Dissemination (1990-2011). Two reviewers screened titles and abstracts of 14,424 articles and 835 full-text, potentially relevant articles. Inclusion criteria were: English-language; at least one resource utilization or cost outcome in adult cancer decedents with solid tumors; outcomes derived from health administrative data; and an exclusive end-of-life or palliative focus. RESULTS: We reviewed 78 studies examining end-of-life care in over 3.7 million cancer decedents; 55 were from the North America; and 33 published since 2008. We observed exponential increases in service use and costs as death approached. Hospital services were the main cost driver. Palliative services were relatively underutilized, and associated with lower expenditures than hospital-based care. The 15 studies using quality of care indicators demonstrated significant proportions of up to 33% of patients receive chemotherapy or life sustaining treatments in the last month of life; up to 66% do not receive hospice/palliative services. CONCLUSIONS: Observational studies using routinely collected health administrative data have the potential to drive evidence-based palliative care practice and policy. Further refinement of quality of care markers will enhance benchmarking activities across health care jurisdictions, providers, and patient populations.
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