Utilization of clinical pathways can reduce drug spend within the oncology care model

Andrew Hertler*, Sang Chau, Rani Khetarpal, Ed Bassin, Jeff Dang, Daniel Koppel, Vijay Damarla, James Wade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Reducing drug spend is one of the greatest challenges for practices participating in the Oncology Care Model (OCM). Evidence-based clinical pathways have the potential to decrease drug spend while maintaining clinical outcomes consistent with published evidence. The goal of this study was to determine whether voluntary use of clinical pathways by a practice can maximize OCM episodic cost savings. METHODS AND MATERIALS A community oncology practice used evidence-based clinical pathways for OCM-attributed patients. All treatment plans were submitted to the pathway vendor in real time for clinical pathway adherence measurement. Analysis was conducted before implementation and on an ongoing daily and weekly basis to identify cases in which higher cost drugs or regimens were ordered. A clinical data governance committee met biweekly to review clinical pathway performance metrics and drug utilization. RESULTS From quarter 1 of 2017 to quarter 1 of 2019, the median drug spend increased less rapidly for Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois (CCSI; 18.6%) compared with OCM (34.4%). Furthermore, the percent difference in drug spend for CCSI relative to OCM decreased from 13.5% to 0.1% (P, .001). Each quarter, there was approximately a 1.7% decrease (95% CI, 1.0% to 2.4%) in drug spend for CCSI relative to OCM. Additional analyses found that, over a 15-month period (October 2017 through December 2019), CCSI achieved an increase in pathway adherence from 69% to 81%. CONCLUSION Reduction in drug spend is possible within a value-based care model, using evidence-based clinical pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E456-E463
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Oncology


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