A National Budget Impact Analysis of a Specialised Surveillance Programme for Individuals at Very High Risk of Melanoma in Australia

Caroline G. Watts*, Sally Wortley, Sarah Norris, Scott W. Menzies, Pascale Guitera, Lisa Askie, Graham J. Mann, Rachael L. Morton, Anne E. Cust

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Specialised surveillance using total body photography and digital dermoscopy to monitor people at very high risk of developing a second or subsequent melanoma has been reported as cost effective. Objectives: We aimed to estimate the 5-year healthcare budget impact of providing specialised surveillance for people at very high risk of subsequent melanoma from the perspective of the Australian healthcare system. Methods: A budget impact model was constructed to assess the costs of monitoring and potential savings compared with current routine care based on identification of patients at the time of a melanoma diagnosis. We used data from a published cost-effectiveness analysis of specialised surveillance, and Cancer Registry data, to estimate the patient population and healthcare costs for 2017–2021. Results: When all eligible patients, estimated at 18% of patients with melanoma diagnosed annually in Australia, received specialised surveillance rather than routine care, the cumulative 5-year cost was estimated at $93.5 million Australian dollars ($AU) ($US 64 million) for specialised surveillance compared with $AU 120.7 million ($US 82.7 million) for routine care, delivering savings of $AU 27.2 million ($US 18.6 million). With a staggered introduction of 60% of eligible patients accessing surveillance in year 1, increasing to 90% in years 4 and 5, the cumulative cost over 5 years was estimated at $AU 98.1 million ($US 67.2 million), amounting to savings of $AU 22.6 million ($US 15.5 million) compared with routine care. Conclusions: Specialised melanoma surveillance is likely to provide substantial cost savings for the Australian healthcare system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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