A systematic review of care delivery models and economic analyses in lymphedema: health policy impact (2004-2011)
A project of the American Lymphedema Framework Project (ALFP), this review seeks to examine the policy and economic impact of caring for patients with lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatment. This review is the first of its kind undertaken to investigate, coordinate, and streamline lymphedema policy initiatives in the United States with potential applicability worldwide. As part of a large scale literature review aiming to systematically evaluate the level of evidence of
... dence of contemporary peer-reviewed lymphedema literature (2004 to 2011), publications on care delivery models, health policy, and economic impact were retrieved, summarized, and evaluated by a team of investigators and clinical experts. The review substantiates lymphedema education models and clinical models implemented at the community, health care provider, and individual level that improve delivery of care. The review exposes the lack of economic analysis related to lymphedema. Despite a dearth of evidence, efforts towards policy initiatives at the federal and state level are underway. These initiatives and the evidence to support them are examined and recommendations for translating these findings into clinical practice are made. Medical and community-based disease management interventions, taking on a public approach, are effective delivery models for lymphedema care and demonstrate great potential to improve cancer survivorship care. Efforts to create policy at the federal, state, and local level should target implementation of these models. More research is needed to identify costs associated with the treatment of lymphedema and to model the cost outlays and potential cost savings associated with comprehensive management of chronic lymphedema.