What can be done to alleviate the cost to patients with cancer
The fashion by which we do help patients recognize the path to making a good, value?driven decision requires several things that are not in the system right now. The first is price transparency. It is totally unbelievable how little providers and patients know about how much things cost.
That’s got to change. There’s the stuff in the public press all the time about people shopping around for how much it will cost to have your gallbladder removed, or something like that, and people cannot get that information, and if they got that information, they’d be horrified because it’s so variable.
In addition to considerations of transparency and cost, there needs to be some improvement in the ability to communicate with patients, educating patients about the real outcome associated with a certain decision.
This especially is relevant in cancer, when the patient has an incurable, advanced malignancy, and choices may have wildly different value propositions associated with them, both in terms of cost and what it costs the patient, in terms of quality of life, the impact on family, and financial toxicity.
We’ve got to improve transparency, and we’ve got to improve the way we talk to patients, and help them get involved in the shared decision-making.