Health Tech

New technology integrated with EHR provides real time, comparative costs for oncology treatments

Through, Decision Path, Cardinal Health is offering cost and indication comparisons for oncology treatments, all within the EHR, for point-of-care use and help patients avoid financial toxicity.

EHR, EMR, medical record

Price transparency measures have been gaining steam within healthcare overall be it hospitals declaring the prices of common procedures or companies like Good Rx or SingleCare that help people shop for best prices and discounts on prescription drugs.

Now, it appears that even in cancer treatment price transparency and considerations are coming into play. In March, Cardinal Health debuted its Decision Path solution, which integrates with EHRs to show providers a side-by-side cost comparison and indications of multiple oncology treatments. Decision Path is the newest in Cardinal’s Navista Tech Solutions (TS) suite of solutions and tackles a significant problem for oncology patients: financial toxicity.

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Cancer patients in particular face a disproportionate risk of financial toxicity, a term for when patients go into debt and face financial hardship in order to afford their treatments, according to the National Cancer Institute. For example, cancer patients file for bankruptcy at a rate 2.7 times that people without cancer.

Cardinal Health hopes Decision Path will change that statistic by helping physicians evaluate the cost-efficient options available and suitability for each patient, ultimately contributing to value-based care. Decision Path was developed by Cardinal Health’s innovation engine, Fuse.

“With Decision Path, cost estimates and comparisons are immediately available in the EHR workflow, allowing physicians and patients to readily access the crucial information they need for informed decision-making that benefits both the patient and the practice,” said Tanya Park, director of innovation solutions at Cardinal Health, said in the news release. “The cost transparency Decision Path provides can enable oncologists to work with cancer patients to seek optimal treatment choices and improved financial health,”

Historically such cost and indication data would be available from outside sources, creating an undue time constraint on both physician and care teams to obtain the information for patients. And the challenge of aggregating such information manually is only growing, as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network has approved more than 2,000 protocols for cancer, with new options emerging often. As such, keeping track is both difficult and time intensive via traditional methods. And with a provider shortage, time is at a premium.

Throw in how a patient’s insurance can vary to impact the ultimate cost of a given treatment and the equation becomes calculus level to know the cost.

“Patients are increasingly managing high costs for their cancer care including medications, surgeries and other treatments. Decision Path offers a unique solution because it provides real-time visibility into a patient’s out-of-pocket expenses and helps oncologists to make high-quality treatment choices, while also managing costs and optimizing value-based care performance for the practice,” said Amy Valley, vice president of clinical strategy and technology solutions at Cardinal Health, in a news release.

Photo: invincible_bulldog, Getty Images

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