• Journal Article

The cost of cancer registry operations: Impact of volume on cost per case for core and enhanced registry activities

Citation

Subramanian, S., Tangka, F. K., Cole Beebe, M., Trebino, D., Weir, H. K., & Babcock, F. (2016). The cost of cancer registry operations: Impact of volume on cost per case for core and enhanced registry activities. Evaluation and Program Planning, 55, 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2015.11.005

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cancer registration data is vital for creating evidence-based policies and interventions. Quantifying the resources needed for cancer registration activities and identifying potential efficiencies are critically important to ensure sustainability of cancer registry operations. METHODS: Using a previously validated web-based cost assessment tool, we collected activity-based cost data and report findings using 3 years of data from 40 National Program of Cancer Registry grantees. We stratified registries by volume: low-volume included fewer than 10,000 cases, medium-volume included 10,000-50,000 cases, and high-volume included >50,000 cases. RESULTS: Low-volume cancer registries incurred an average of $93.11 to report a case (without in-kind contributions) compared with $27.70 incurred by high-volume registries. Across all registries, the highest cost per case was incurred for data collection and abstraction ($8.33), management ($6.86), and administration ($4.99). Low- and medium-volume registries have higher costs than high-volume registries for all key activities. CONCLUSIONS: Some cost differences by volume can be explained by the large fixed costs required for administering and performing registration activities, but other reasons may include the quality of the data initially submitted to the registries from reporting sources such as hospitals and pathology laboratories. Automation or efficiency improvements in data collection can potentially reduce overall costs