This study reviewed 229 urology practices in Texas and found that 5 percent (12 centers) offered radiation oncology services, and 53 percent of the state's population lives within 10 miles of these centers.
The 12 urology-owned practices were found to have multiple urologic clinics, but each practice has only one radiation oncology treatment center focused on prostate cancer treatment. This often resulted in extended travel times because radiation therapy is not available at the same physical location as the urologic clinic where the patient was initially diagnosed. The mean patient travel distance was found to be 19.7 miles (26.11 minutes) to the urology-owned center versus 5.88 miles (9.15 minutes) to the nearest radiation oncology center.
The patient benefits of this practice model, known as physician self-referral, have been questioned particularly with regard to its impact on increasing health care costs. Self-referral is being investigated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and others due to concern that financial incentives could steer patients to more costly, unnecessary and/or less effective procedures. This article reinforces concern about the increase in urology-owned radiation oncology practices across the country, and further notes that 28 percent of Texas urologists now work in practices that self-refer for radiation oncology services. According to a national Urology Times survey, published on December 1, 2011, 19 percent of urology groups report owning linear accelerators to provide radiation oncology treatments, and these medical groups refer patients for treatment within their own radiation oncology center.
"Integrated urology-radiation oncology practices are increasingly common in Texas and have the potential to impact patient care. For example, our study illustrates that patients diagnosed by a urologist whose practice owns a radiation treatment facility will, on average, drive three times farther to reach the radiation treatment facility owned by their urologist than they would have to drive to reach the nearest independent radiation treatment facility," said Benjamin D. Smith, MD, a radiation oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and one of the study's authors.
Study authors affirm that their findings are limited to their research area of the state of Texas and recommend additional analysis of how urology-owned self-referral practices affect patient care, quality of treatment and patient satisfaction and outcomes, not just patient travel time.
"Travel time to cancer care centers is crucial, especially for older men with advanced disease, because external radiation therapy often requires daily treatment for six to eight weeks. These patients often need to lean on friends and relatives to help them get to and from these multiple appointments. We must be judicious when proposing treatment options to our patients and appreciate the time and travel investment, including significant transportation and fuel costs, they make when choosing radiation therapy," said Colleen Lawton, MD, FASTRO, and president-elect of ASTRO. Dr. Lawton is a prostate cancer specialist and professor and vice-chairman of the department of radiation oncology at the Froedtert and Medical College Clinical Cancer Center in Milwaukee.
The study's authors are Benjamin D. Smith, MD, department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Pavan M .Jhaveri, MD, section of radiation oncology in the department of radiology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Zhuyi Sun, BS, of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Leslie Ballas, MD, of Valley Radiotherapy Associates Medical Group, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; David S. Followill, PhD, department of radiation physics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Karen E. Hoffman, MD, MHSc, MPH, department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Jing Jiang, MS, department of biostatistics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
For the complete text of the study, contact Michelle Kirkwood, 703-286-1600, firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Red Journal, visit www.redjournal.org.
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.
Michelle Kirkwood | EurekAlert!
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering