A decision analysis of practice patterns used in evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears

Phillip Y. Roland, R. Wendel Naumann, Ronald D. Alvarez, Larry Kilgore, Edward E. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate contemporary methods of evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears, in terms of their potential for excessive treatment and financial impact on health care delivery systems. Methods: Clinical algorithms for the evaluation and treatment of abnormal Pap smears were constructed, taking into consideration different philosophies on the need for colposcopic biopsy, the role of cryotherapy, and LLETZ. The algorithms employed (1) colposcopy of all patients with cryotherapy of mild dysplasia and LLETZ of moderate to severe dysplasia; (2) colposcopy with observation of mild dysplasia, treatment of moderate dysplasia by cryotherapy, and severe dysplasia by LLETZ; (3) colposcopy of LGSIL Paps before treatment and immediate LLETZ of HGSIL; and (4) immediate LLETZ of LGSIL and HGSIL Paps. Each algorithm was theoretically applied to a cohort of colposcopy clinic patients based upon referral Pap smear, with excessive treatment and costs calculated. The cohort's repeat Pap smear, colposcopic biopsy, and candidacy for cryotherapy were included in the analysis. The decision to use repeat Pap smear in treatment planning, submit only diagnostic LLETZ pathology, and select immediate LLETZ candidates by HGSIL/severe dysplasia Pap smear was considered. Financial impact was calculated using nationwide fiftieth-percentile reimbursement costs for procedures and related pathology. Results: Colposcopy provided little opportunity for excessive treatment. In contrast, 49.3% of cases subjected to immediate LLETZ would theoretically not have required treatment, if initially evaluated by colposcopy. The use of the subset of HGSIL cases encompassing severe dysplasia only identified patients suitable for immediate LLETZ, with an excessive treatment rate of only 2.8%. Traditional colposcopy (algorithm 2) would have been least expensive at $718 per patient. Algorithms 1 and 3 were intermediate at $785 and $754 per patient, respectively. Immediate LLETZ of all abnormal Paps (algorithm 4) would have been most costly at $838 per patient. Conclusions: The abandonment of colposcopy and reliance on immediate LLETZ for evaluation and treatment of cervical lesions would have been expensive and had significant potential for excessive treatment. Traditional colposcopic evaluation, coupled with observation of mild dysplasia, appeared to be the most cost-effective means of treating cervical dysplasia and had a low potential for excessive treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

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Papanicolaou Test
Decision Support Techniques
Colposcopy
Cryotherapy
Therapeutics
Observation
Uterine Cervical Dysplasia
Pathology
Delivery of Health Care
Biopsy
Costs and Cost Analysis
Health Care Costs
Referral and Consultation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this

A decision analysis of practice patterns used in evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears. / Roland, Phillip Y.; Naumann, R. Wendel; Alvarez, Ronald D.; Kilgore, Larry; Partridge, Edward E.

In: Gynecologic oncology, Vol. 59, No. 1, 01.01.1995, p. 75-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Roland, Phillip Y. ; Naumann, R. Wendel ; Alvarez, Ronald D. ; Kilgore, Larry ; Partridge, Edward E. / A decision analysis of practice patterns used in evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears. In: Gynecologic oncology. 1995 ; Vol. 59, No. 1. pp. 75-80.
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abstract = "Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate contemporary methods of evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears, in terms of their potential for excessive treatment and financial impact on health care delivery systems. Methods: Clinical algorithms for the evaluation and treatment of abnormal Pap smears were constructed, taking into consideration different philosophies on the need for colposcopic biopsy, the role of cryotherapy, and LLETZ. The algorithms employed (1) colposcopy of all patients with cryotherapy of mild dysplasia and LLETZ of moderate to severe dysplasia; (2) colposcopy with observation of mild dysplasia, treatment of moderate dysplasia by cryotherapy, and severe dysplasia by LLETZ; (3) colposcopy of LGSIL Paps before treatment and immediate LLETZ of HGSIL; and (4) immediate LLETZ of LGSIL and HGSIL Paps. Each algorithm was theoretically applied to a cohort of colposcopy clinic patients based upon referral Pap smear, with excessive treatment and costs calculated. The cohort's repeat Pap smear, colposcopic biopsy, and candidacy for cryotherapy were included in the analysis. The decision to use repeat Pap smear in treatment planning, submit only diagnostic LLETZ pathology, and select immediate LLETZ candidates by HGSIL/severe dysplasia Pap smear was considered. Financial impact was calculated using nationwide fiftieth-percentile reimbursement costs for procedures and related pathology. Results: Colposcopy provided little opportunity for excessive treatment. In contrast, 49.3{\%} of cases subjected to immediate LLETZ would theoretically not have required treatment, if initially evaluated by colposcopy. The use of the subset of HGSIL cases encompassing severe dysplasia only identified patients suitable for immediate LLETZ, with an excessive treatment rate of only 2.8{\%}. Traditional colposcopy (algorithm 2) would have been least expensive at $718 per patient. Algorithms 1 and 3 were intermediate at $785 and $754 per patient, respectively. Immediate LLETZ of all abnormal Paps (algorithm 4) would have been most costly at $838 per patient. Conclusions: The abandonment of colposcopy and reliance on immediate LLETZ for evaluation and treatment of cervical lesions would have been expensive and had significant potential for excessive treatment. Traditional colposcopic evaluation, coupled with observation of mild dysplasia, appeared to be the most cost-effective means of treating cervical dysplasia and had a low potential for excessive treatment.",
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AU - Partridge, Edward E.

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N2 - Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate contemporary methods of evaluating and treating abnormal Pap smears, in terms of their potential for excessive treatment and financial impact on health care delivery systems. Methods: Clinical algorithms for the evaluation and treatment of abnormal Pap smears were constructed, taking into consideration different philosophies on the need for colposcopic biopsy, the role of cryotherapy, and LLETZ. The algorithms employed (1) colposcopy of all patients with cryotherapy of mild dysplasia and LLETZ of moderate to severe dysplasia; (2) colposcopy with observation of mild dysplasia, treatment of moderate dysplasia by cryotherapy, and severe dysplasia by LLETZ; (3) colposcopy of LGSIL Paps before treatment and immediate LLETZ of HGSIL; and (4) immediate LLETZ of LGSIL and HGSIL Paps. Each algorithm was theoretically applied to a cohort of colposcopy clinic patients based upon referral Pap smear, with excessive treatment and costs calculated. The cohort's repeat Pap smear, colposcopic biopsy, and candidacy for cryotherapy were included in the analysis. The decision to use repeat Pap smear in treatment planning, submit only diagnostic LLETZ pathology, and select immediate LLETZ candidates by HGSIL/severe dysplasia Pap smear was considered. Financial impact was calculated using nationwide fiftieth-percentile reimbursement costs for procedures and related pathology. Results: Colposcopy provided little opportunity for excessive treatment. In contrast, 49.3% of cases subjected to immediate LLETZ would theoretically not have required treatment, if initially evaluated by colposcopy. The use of the subset of HGSIL cases encompassing severe dysplasia only identified patients suitable for immediate LLETZ, with an excessive treatment rate of only 2.8%. Traditional colposcopy (algorithm 2) would have been least expensive at $718 per patient. Algorithms 1 and 3 were intermediate at $785 and $754 per patient, respectively. Immediate LLETZ of all abnormal Paps (algorithm 4) would have been most costly at $838 per patient. Conclusions: The abandonment of colposcopy and reliance on immediate LLETZ for evaluation and treatment of cervical lesions would have been expensive and had significant potential for excessive treatment. Traditional colposcopic evaluation, coupled with observation of mild dysplasia, appeared to be the most cost-effective means of treating cervical dysplasia and had a low potential for excessive treatment.

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