Sources of variation in follow-up expenditure after radical cystectomy

Goutham Vemana, Joel Vetter, Ling Chen, Gurdarshan Sandhu, Seth A. Strope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Follow-up care after radical cystectomy is poorly defined, with extensive variation in practice patterns. We sought to determine sources of these variations in care as well as examine the economic effect of standardization of care to guideline-recommended care. Methods: Using linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data from 1992 to 2007, we determined follow-up care expenditures (time and geography standardized) for 24 months after surgery. Accounted expenditures included office visits, imaging studies, urine tests, and blood work. A multilevel model was implemented to determine the effect of region, surgeon, and patient factors on care delivery. We then compared the actual expenditures on care in the Medicare system (interquartile range) with the expenditures if patients received care recommended by current clinical guidelines. Results: Expenditures over 24 months of follow-up were calculated per month and per patient. The mean and median total expenditures per patient were $1108 and $805 respectively (minimum $0, maximum $9,805; 25th-75th percentile $344-$1503). Variations in expenditures were most explained at the patient level. After accounting for surgeon and patient levels, we found no regional-level variations in care. Adherence to guidelines would lead to an increase in expenditures by 0.80 to 10.6 times the expenditures exist in current practice. Conclusion: Although some regional-level and surgeon-level variations in care were found, the most variation in expenditure on follow-up care was at the patient level, largely based on node positivity, chemotherapy status, and final cancer stage. Standardization of care to current established guidelines would create higher expenditures on follow-up care than current practice patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267.e31-267.e37
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Bladder cancer
  • Cost analysis
  • Cystectomy
  • Expenditure
  • Follow-up


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