National costs and resource requirements of external beam radiotherapy: A time-driven activity-based costing model from the ESTRO-HERO project

Noemie Defourny*, Lionel Perrier, Josep-Maria Borras, Mary Coffey, Julietta Corral, Sophie Hoozee, Judith van Loon, Cai Grau, Yolande Lievens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The Health Economics in Radiation Oncology (ESTRO-HERO) project aims to provide a knowledge base for health economics in European radiotherapy. A cost-accounting model, providing data on national resource requirements and costs of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), was developed.

Materials and methods: Time-driven activity-based costing (TD-ABC) was applied from the healthcare provider perspective at national level. TD-ABC allocates resource costs to treatment courses through the activities performed, based on time estimates.

Results: The model is structured in three layers. The central layer, EBRT-Core, accounts for EBRT care-pathway activities and follows TD-ABC allocation principles. Activities supporting radiation oncology (RO) (RO-Support) and multidisciplinary oncology (Beyond-EBRT) follow standard allocation principles.

To demonstrate the model's capabilities, a dataset was constructed for the hypothetical country Europalia, based on published evidence on resources and treatments, whereas time estimates were expert opinions. Applying the TD-ABC model to this example, treatment delivery activities represent 68.4% of the costs; treatment preparation 31.6%. The cost per course shows large variation for different indications, techniques, and fractionation schedules, ranging between (sic)838 and (sic)7193. Resource utilization was estimated to be within the available capacity. Scenario analyses on changes in fractionation and treatment complexity are presented.

The ESTRO-HERO TD-ABC tool can model EBRT costs and resource requirements. While the Europalia example illustrates its potential, the results cannot be generalized nor used as a proxy for national evidence. Only real-world data, tailored to the specificities of individual countries, will support National Radiation Oncology Societies with investment planning and access to innovative radiotherapy. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Time-driven activity-based costing
  • Cost analysis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Healthcare provider perspective
  • Hospital Financial Management


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