• Tiina Tiihonen
  • 8.9.2023

Cost savings through intelligent automation: a new direction in prostate cancer monitoring

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Finnish men, with about 5000 new cases annually. The most significant identified risk factors for prostate cancer are aging, genetic susceptibility, and ethnic background. Prostate cancer is rapidly increasing in incidence, particularly as men reach middle age. Additionally, prostate cancer is increasingly discovered in asymptomatic men during health check-ups, often by chance. Increased individual initiative in seeking examinations has also contributed to this trend.

The diagnosis of prostate cancer relies on prostate examination and the investigation of the PSA biomarker in blood samples. Imaging studies may also be necessary. By the end of 2019, Finland had over 57,000 patients with prostate cancer. Interpreting their PSA results incurs an annual workforce cost of around €10 million*.

Some university and other hospitals have already implemented Forsante’s intelligent automation-based solution, effectively avoiding a significant portion of these workforce costs. If utilized nationwide, this could generate over €5 million in net savings, addressing other needs.

Finland lacks a national prostate cancer screening program. Monitoring PSA levels in asymptomatic individuals could yield false positive results, unnecessary treatments, and expenses—not to mention the psychological burden of a potential cancer diagnosis. Consequently, there is no consensus among experts on the usefulness of population-based screenings.

However, a rise in PSA levels indicates the risk of recurrence in already diagnosed cancer cases. Therefore, PSA levels of those with prostate cancer are monitored.

Automating monitoring reduces costs

Prostate cancer affects a considerable number of individuals, leading to extensive monitoring—given it’s the most common cancer among men. The cost of interpreting a single PSA result was well over a hundred euros years ago*.

Computer analysis saves costs and, more importantly, frees up urologists for patient care. According to Professor Antti Rannikko’s group publication*, a service like Forsante PSA could save about €100-245 per follow-up.

Forsante PSA automates prostate cancer monitoring by automatically reminding patients of laboratory visits and sending PSA results and instructions via text message. The healthcare unit tracks patients through the service, receiving alerts if a patient misses laboratory tests or if their PSA levels trigger an alert.

Automating prostate cancer monitoring is a step forward in the process of reforming the healthcare system. Improved productivity helps allocate scarce resources for the benefit of patients.


*Source: The calculation and savings calculation are based on the costs outlined in Table 1 of the article Bergroth, R., Matikainen, M. & Rannikko, A. (2021). Mobile PSA: A Novel Telehealth Tool for Prostate Cancer Follow-Up (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8317875/) for PSA measurements, assuming an average of 1.5 measurements per year, with a potential savings of over 100 euros per measurement.