"It is widely known that outcomes after cancer surgery vary widely, depending on interactions between patient, tumor, neoadjuvant therapy and provider factors," said Marah Short, a senior research analyst for the Baker Institute's Health Policy Forum.
"An area of cancer care that has received little attention is the influence of complications on medical outcomes and costs of care.
In our study, we found consistently higher costs associated with cancer surgery complications.
Improved patient outcomes and substantial health care savings could be achieved by targeting these complicating factors for quality improvement."
Short co-authored the article with Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at the Baker Institute, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Thomas Aloia, an associate professor in the MD Anderson Cancer Center's Department of Surgical Oncology.
"These data indicate that even in the complex cancer care environment, in which many controllable and uncontrollable variables may contribute to complications, improvements in patient safety indicators are highly likely to reduce costs," Short