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Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing: A Comparative Cost Analysis of Whole-Breast Radiotherapy Versus Balloon-Based Brachytherapy in the Management of Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing: A Comparative Cost Analysis of Whole-Breast Radiotherapy Versus Balloon-Based Brachytherapy in the Management of Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Journal of Oncology Practice 12(5): E584

Value in health care is defined as outcomes achieved per dollar spent, and understanding cost is critical to delivering high-value care. Traditional costing methods reflect charges rather than fundamental costs to provide a service. The more rigorous method of time-driven activity-based costing was used to compare cost between whole-breast radiotherapy (WBRT) and accelerated partial-breast irradiation (APBI) using balloon-based brachytherapy. For WBRT (25 fractions with five-fraction boost) and APBI (10 fractions twice daily), process maps were created outlining each activity from consultation to post-treatment follow up. Through staff interviews, time estimates were obtained for each activity. The capacity cost rates (CCR), defined as cost per minute, were calculated for personnel, equipment, and physical space. Total cost was calculated by multiplying the time required of each resource by its CCR. This was then summed and combined with cost of consumable materials. The total cost for WBRT was $5,333 and comprised 56% personnel costs and 44% space/equipment costs. For APBI, the total cost was $6,941 (30% higher than WBRT) and comprised 51% personnel costs, 6% space/equipment costs, and 43% consumable materials costs. The attending physician had the highest CCR of all personnel ($4.28/min), and APBI required 24% more attending time than WBRT. The most expensive activity for APBI was balloon placement and for WBRT was computed tomography simulation. APBI cost more than WBRT when using the dose/fractionation schemes analyzed. Future research should use time-driven activity-based costing to better understand cost with the aim of reducing expenditure and defining bundled payments.

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Accession: 059134890

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PMID: 27006360

DOI: 10.1200/jop.2015.008441

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