Study: Automatic Palliative Care Consultations for Advanced Cancer Can Increase Value of Cancer Care

A recent study found that the use of standardized criteria or “triggers” for palliative care consultation in patients with advanced cancer is not only associated with an improvement in the quality of oncology care, but also a reduction in downstream healthcare utilization. When the automatic consult was triggered by specific criteria, 30-day readmission rates and use of chemotherapy after discharge declined, whereas hospice referrals and uptake of support services post-discharge increased.

“Patients with advanced cancer admitted to an acute care hospital often have short life expectancies and high morbidity,” said Kerin Adelson, MD, in a statement. “For these patients, the integration of palliative care has improved symptom burden, reduced patient and caregiver distress, increased referral to hospice, and improved outcomes.” Adelson is an assistant professor of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center and deputy chief medical officer for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

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