Feasibility and economic impact of a clinical pathway for pap test utilization in Gynecologic Oncology practice

Antonio Santillan, Linda Govan, Marianna L. Zahurak, Teresa P. Diaz-Montes, Robert L. Giuntoli, Robert E. Bristow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and impact on cost to the U.S. healthcare system of implementing a clinical pathway for Pap test utilization in screening and surveillance of gynecologic cancers in a university-based gynecologic oncology practice. Methods: Baseline data were collected for Pap test utilization between 1/1/04 and 6/30/05 and prospectively compared to Pap test utilization following the implementation of a clinical pathway (7/1/05 to 5/30/06). The clinical pathway: 1) employed ACOG guidelines for asymptomatic screening of non-cancer patients, 2) allowed testing at 4 months intervals for cervical/vaginal cancer surveillance, 3) limited testing for endometrial cancer surveillance to 2 tests/60 months, and 4) eliminated testing as part of ovarian cancer surveillance. Relevant costs were calculated using Medicare charge-to-cost ratios and adjusted to 2006 USD. For statistical analysis, differences in Pap test utilization and cost were evaluated using student's t-test. Results: During the baseline period, 1725 Pap tests were collected from 5605 ambulatory encounters, for a Pap test rate of 30.8% and an annualized cost of $93,759. After implementation of the clinical pathway, 4209 ambulatory encounters yielded an annual Pap test rate of 11% and an annual cost of $35,728 (p < 0.0001), a savings of $58,031. In addition, clinical pathway implementation also registered an opportunity cost savings of 180.3 nursing personnel work hours ($4,162). Conclusions: Reduction in the unnecessary use of Pap testing for asymptomatic screening and surveillance for gynecologic cancers through a straightforward clinical pathway is feasible and offers an opportunity for significant cost savings in gynecologic oncology healthcare expenditure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Healthcare costs
  • Pap test
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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