Measuring value in cancer-related health care: A case study in head and neck cancer

Gerard James Colman, The University of Texas School of Public Health


In the current climate of escalating health care costs, defining value and accurately measuring it are two critical issues affecting not only the future of cancer care in particular but also the future of health care in general. Specifically, measuring and improving value in cancer-related health care are critical for continued advancements in research, management, and overall delivery of care. However, in oncology, most of this research has focused on value as it relates to insurance industry and payment reform, with little attention paid to value as the output of clinical interventions that encompass integrated clinical teams focusing on the entire cycle of care and measuring objective outcomes that are most relevant to patients. In this study, patient-centered value was defined as health outcomes achieved per dollar spent, and calculated using objective functional outcomes and total care costs. The analytic sample comprised patients diagnosed with three common head and neck cancers—cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, and oropharynx—who were treated in an integrated tertiary care center over an approximately 10-year period. The results of this study provide initial empirical data that can be used to assess and ultimately to help improve the quality and value of head and neck cancer care, and more importantly they can be used by patients and clinicians to make better-informed decisions about care, particularly what therapeutic services and outcomes matter the most to patients.

Subject Area

Health care management

Recommended Citation

Colman, Gerard James, "Measuring value in cancer-related health care: A case study in head and neck cancer" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3552557.