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  • Kyle Chua

NCIS Partners With Bot MD To Launch Cancer Treatment Cost Calculator

Cost is usually one of the major factors that might stop a patient from seeking treatment for a condition or illness they have.

Credit: Olga Kononenko via Unsplash

The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) and local health artificial intelligence startup Bot MD hope to change that with their new innovation, a chemotherapy and cancer treatment cost calculator which enables patients to track how much they could possibly be paying for the medical attention they need.


Called NCIS ChemoCalc, short for Chemotherapy Cost Calculator, the tool is designed to help frontline healthcare workers to easily get an estimate medical for cancer-stricken patients. The estimates are based on factors like their prescribed treatment, residency status, means-testing tier and eligibility for various government subsidy schemes. The schemes loaded onto the calculator include the Ministry of Health’s Cancer Drug List, the Medication Assistance Fund, Pioneer and Merdeka Generation schemes and subsidies for outpatient specialist services. Users can expect the calculator to be continuously updated to align with any new national or institutional price revisions.

Credit: NCIS

For now, ChemoCalc is only available to frontline healthcare workers, but the idea of a tool that computes the cost of cancer treatment could greatly benefit the public. That's why NCIS and Bot MD hope to make the tool available to all cancer and non-cancer patients in public and private healthcare institutions in the near future.


The Ministry of Health already announced last August the changes to the MediShield Life (MSHL) reimbursement model which will only cover a positive list of clinically proven cancer drug treatments. Most cancer treatments, however, are administered in tandem with other drugs at specific doses, making it quite challenging for patients to get an accurate estimate of how much they might have to pay. They in turn might struggle in making critical decisions with regard to their treatment, which, of course, isn't good for their health.

Credit: NCIS

NCIS touts ChemoCalc can be customised to meet the specific needs to suit how different healthcare institutions procure and administer cancer treatments. The proprietary algorithm also optimises the cost of treatment by finding the most cost-effective drug combinations for the patient. It could even highlight to healthcare staff when a more affordable generic or biosimilar alternative is available.


These features are all nicely implemented in an intuitive and accessible user interface. Users need only log in via the Bot MD Hospital app, then they'll be asked to input some important information such as their chemotherapy regimen, height and weight, residency status, monthly household income and subsidy status, among others. After that, the tool computes the estimated cost of treatment, displaying a detailed itemisation of the drugs and services relevant to the

treatment.


"Medical costs and treatment affordability are key concerns among many patients and not knowing whether one can afford treatment is an added source of stress and anxiety," said Ms Alexis Koh, Senior Medical Social Worker at the National University Hospital. "Ultimately, we hope to reduce as much stressors as possible so that they can focus on their health and treatment."

 
  • NCIS has partnered with Bot MD to launch ChemoCalc, a chemotherapy and cancer treatment cost calculator which enables patients to track how much they could possibly be paying for the medical attention they need.

  • Users need only input important information into the tool, such as their chemotherapy regimen, height and weight, among others, and it'll automatically find the most cost-effective treatment option with a breakdown of the costs.

  • For now, ChemoCalc is only available to frontline healthcare workers, but NCIS and Bot MD hope to bring it to the public in the future.


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