Cost-Consequence Analysis Alongside a Randomised Controlled Trial of Hospital Versus Telephone Follow-Up after Treatment for Endometrial Cancer
Dixon P., Beaver K., Williamson S., Sutton C., Martin-Hirsch P., Hollingworth W.
© 2018, The Author(s). Background: Regular outpatient follow-up programmes are usually offered to patients following treatment for gynaecological and other cancers. Despite the substantial resources involved in providing these programmes, there is evidence that routine follow-up programmes do not affect survival or the likelihood of detecting recurrence and may not meet patient needs. Alternative follow-up modalities may offer the same outcomes at lower cost. We examined the costs of using telephone-based routine follow-up of women treated for endometrial cancer undertaken by specialist gynaecology oncology nurses in comparison to routine hospital-based follow-up. Methods: The ENDCAT trial randomised 259 women at five centres in the north west of England with a known diagnosis of Stage I endometrial cancer who had completed primary treatment on a 1:1 basis to receive either standard hospital outpatient follow-up or a telephone follow-up intervention administered by specialist nurses. A cost-consequence analysis was undertaken in which we compared costs to the health system and to individuals with the trial’s co-primary outcomes of psychological morbidity and participant satisfaction with information received. Results: Psychological morbidity, psychosocial needs, patient satisfaction and quality of life did not differ between arms. Patients randomised to telephone follow-up underwent more and longer consultations. There was no difference in total health service mean per patient costs at 6 months (mean difference £8, 95% percentile confidence interval: − £147 to £141) or 12 months (mean difference: − £77, 95% percentile confidence interval: − £334 to £154). Estimated return journey costs per patient for hospital consultations were £11.47. Productivity costs were approximately twice as high under hospital follow-up. Conclusion: Telephone follow-up was estimated to be cost-neutral for the NHS and may free up clinic time for other patients. There was some evidence that telephone follow-up may be more efficient for patients and wider society, and is not associated with additional psychological morbidity, lower patient satisfaction or reduced quality of life. Trial Registration: ISRCTN: 75220876, prospectively registered 28 October 2011.