Cancer pain assessment and management: does an institutional approach individualise and reduce cost of care?

EPAT Study Group, Katharina Diernberger, Eleanor Clausen, Gordon Murray, Bee Wee, Stein Kaasa, Peter Hall, Marie Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives To understand individual prescribing and associated costs in patients managed with the Edinburgh Pain Assessment and management Tool (EPAT).

Methods The EPAT study was a two-arm parallel group cluster randomised (1:1) trial, including 19 UK cancer centres. Study outcome assessments, including pain levels, analgesia and non-pharmacological and anaesthetic interventions, collected at baseline, 3–5 days and, if applicable, 7–10 days after admission. Costs calculated for inpatient length of stay (LoS), medications and complex pain interventions. Analysis accounted for the clustered nature of the trial design. In this post-hoc analysis, healthcare utilisation and costs are presented descriptively.

Participants 10 centres randomised to EPAT (487 patients) and 9 (449 patients) to usual care (UC).

Main outcome measures Pharmacological and non-pharmacological management, complex pain interventions, length of hospital stay and costs related to these outcomes.

Results The mean per patient hospital cost was £3866 with EPAT and £4194 with UC, reflecting a mean LoS of 2.9 days and 3.1 days, respectively. Costs were lower for non-opioids, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and opioids but slightly higher for adjuvants with EPAT than with UC. The mean per-patient opioid costs were £17.90 (EPAT) and £25.80 (UC). Mean per patient costs of all medication were £36 (EPAT) and £40 (UC).

Complex pain intervention costs were £117 with EPAT per patient and £90 with UC. Overall mean cost per patient was £4018.3 (95% CI 3698.9 to 4337.8) with EPAT and £4323.8 (95% CI 4060.0 to 4587.7) with UC.

Conclusions EPAT facilitated personalised medicine and may result in less opioids, more specific treatments, improved pain outcomes and cost savings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
Early online date27 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2023


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