Financial Toxicity: 6 Proposed Solutions
6 Solutions for Financial Toxicity
This is part 3 of the Wellist Financial Toxicity miniseries. Part 1, the introduction to financial toxicity is available here. Part 2, the list of the 7 drivers of financial toxicity is available here. Here are 6 potential actions that could reduce the impact of financial toxicity in oncology.
#1 Improve Cost Related Health Literacy
Both providers and patients must make an effort to reduce uninformed health decisions. Understanding financial concepts specific to cancer care is something to considering various treatments. The getting the "best" treatment, regardless of cost, might be counterproductive. Financial toxicity is a real risk with health implications that must be considered. Literacy can be improved through patient research, treatment cost transparency, and greater clinician engagement with patients on costs .
#2: Develop and Deploy a Screening Tool
An understanding of the risk potential is crucial to combating financial toxicity. By using a screening tool to identify patients at risk of financial toxicity, preemptive measures and help can be provided . Preventative medicine is the cheapest and most effective method of combating problems. Financial toxicity is no different. Some providers are beginning to use financial screening tools, but widespread adoption has yet to occur.
# 3: Healthcare Policy:
There is a need to adapt healthcare policy to the current day healthcare environment. Financial toxicity is a problem that impacts insured people as well as the uninsured. Widespread and effective insurance coverage is a must for people at risk of financial toxicity. Drug prices are a major driver of financial toxicity, and there must be efforts to make these lifesaving drugs affordable. The method of Achieving these goals is often debated, but inaction continues to harm patients and their families .
#4: Use of Available Resources
An understanding of the options and resources available to patients is an easy aid. There are many funds and charities that have programs set up to help with oncology related expenses. Other programs exist to help with out of hospital costs, like transportation or rent. Many large drug makers have programs where patients in need can get reduced cost medication. Information and access to these resources is critical for all oncology patients.
#5: Assistance Network
Developing an assistance network is another valuable tool in preventing financial toxicity. A formal network of assistance, including social workers, financial advisors and other professional services can help save money. These services can help direct patients and their families towards organizations and resources that would be valuable for the patients.
Informal assistance networks of family and friends are also important in combating financial toxicity. These groups can provide all types of support, and reduce the financial burden of the patient and caregiver. Simply giving a ride to treatment or paying for a home cleaning session are things that informal networks can provide. A Wellistry at https://wellist.com is a great space for recieving constructive help from an informal network. Think of it as a combination of a wish list, gift registry and crowdfunding website all rolled up into one easy-to-use and free package. If you have questions, feel free to contact us!
#6: Understanding and Defining Value in a Long Term Treatment
Patients and their families can reduce the impact of financial toxicity by considering what they value in long term. This self reflective process can be a challenging one, but the benefits can save a lot of money and stress . There are many resources to help with this. Providers, patients, and patients families can act together to determine value, thereby guiding the treatment in the most valuable direction.
If you are interested in resources to help prevent financial toxicity or are looking for a tool to develop an assistance network, https://wellist.com is a valuable place to start your search!