Cost-effectiveness and Improved Parent and Provider Satisfaction With Outpatient Management of Pediatric Oncology Patients, With Low-risk Fever and Neutropenia

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On the basis of significant evidence for safety, the international pediatric fever and neutropenia committee recommends the identification and management of patients with “low-risk fever and neutropenia” (LRFN), outpatient with oral antibiotics, instead of traditional inpatient management. The aim of our study was to compare the cost-per-patient with these 2 strategies, and to evaluate parent and provider satisfaction with the outpatient management of LRFN. Between March 2016 and February 2017, 17 LRFN patients (median absolute neutrophil count, 90/μL) were managed at a single institution, per new guidelines. Fifteen patients were discharged on presentation or at 24 to 48 hours postadmission on oral levofloxacin, and 2 were inadvertently admitted off protocol. The mean cost of management for the postimplementation cohort was compared with a historic preimplementation control group. Satisfaction surveys were completed by parents and health care providers of LRFN patients. The mean total cost of an LRFN episode was $12,500 per patient preimplementation and $6168 postimplementation, a decrease of $6332 (51%) per patient. All parents surveyed found outpatient follow-up easy; most (12/14) parents and all (16/16) providers preferred outpatient management. Outpatient management of LRFN patients was less costly, and was preferred by a majority of parents and all health care providers, compared with traditional inpatient management.

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