Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania

Administrative Payment Tasks Increase Likelihood of Treatment Delays and Nonadherence

Meredith DohertyA study led by PC3I Faculty Meredith Doherty, PhD, LCSW showed that patients with cancer and survivors of cancer who engaged in administrative payment tasks, such as cost estimation or care payments, were more likely to experience cost-related treatment delays or treatment nonadherence. These findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention—a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

The study, funded by the American Cancer Society, focused on patients or survivors who had breast, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer, while the second half of the population was comprised of patients and survivors who had any other type of cancer. Participants who engaged in any administrative tasks were 18% more likely to experience treatment delays or nonadherence than participants who did not engage in administrative tasks.

For the purposes of this study, administrative payment tasks include patients estimating out-of-pocket costs before agreeing to treatment, appealing a denial of benefits from the insurance company, calculating out-of-pocket costs before filling a prescription, asking insurance companies for help understanding coverage, or calculating out-of-pocket cost before getting a lab test or scan.

Doherty and colleagues also noted that African Americans were the most likely to engage in administrative tasks and experience treatment delays or nonadherence, suggesting that administrative burden may exacerbate existing health disparities among marginalized groups.

In an interview with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Dr. Doherty explained, “It’s fairly unique to our U.S. health care system for the consumer to be responsible for acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to effectively use those goods or services and to ensure they’re of high quality.”

Meredith Doherty, PhD, LCSW is an Innovation Faculty member at the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I) and Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2).

For more information, read the full AACR news release.

Related News