Aetna And US Oncology Team Up To Improve Quality, Cost Of Cancer Care
Innovent Oncology program promotes evidence-based guidelines, specialized patient care and efficiency in cancer treatment
HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna (NYSE: ?ET) and US Oncology Inc. announced today that Innovent Oncology, a subsidiary of US Oncology Inc., will deliver progressive, comprehensive cancer care programs for Aetna members and participating oncologists. The program expands the use of evidence-based guidelines and expert nurse support to deliver proven quality cancer care that helps patients beat cancer with fewer side effects, less time in treatment and less financial strain.
This collaboration follows a recent study by US Oncology and Aetna that found evidence-based care for patients with non-small cell lung cancer resulted in equivalent health outcomes and a 35 percent cost savings, demonstrating that high-quality, evidence-based care can actually reduce costs. Aetna and US Oncology expect to achieve similar results in the treatment of 14 of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, including colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
“We know cancer treatment is often a long, emotional and confusing process. We want patients to have access to the most effective — and the safest — treatment options and care support,” said Lonny Reisman, M.D., Aetna chief medical officer. “By relying on the best medical evidence and working closely with the medical community, Aetna will expand access to programs that improve the quality of cancer care for members and link this higher quality care with appropriate reimbursement for physicians.”
With approximately 18 million medical members nationwide, Aetna is the first national health plan to offer the Innovent Oncology program, which will be available initially in Texas starting June 1, 2010, as an option to members of Aetna’s fully insured commercial medical plans. The program is expected to expand into other states throughout 2011.
“Innovent Oncology offers a unique focus that supports cancer patients through the entire cancer care continuum,” says Bruce Broussard, chairman and CEO of US Oncology. “We intend to improve the way cancer care is delivered by addressing the key drivers in quality cancer care, including the use of proven treatments, managing adverse side events, and involving patients and families early in end-of-life discussions.”
A three-pronged approach
This program is centered on Level I Pathways that were independently developed by physicians and other tumor-specific experts in the United Network of US Oncology. These evidence-based guidelines redirect the wide range of treatments to more precise, clinically proven options that optimize outcomes and minimize side effects. Health information connectivity – a critical element of this strategy – gives physicians electronic access to these guidelines and other decision-support resources at the point of care.
In collaboration with patients’ oncologists and Aetna’s care management team, Innovent Oncology’s nurses will provide patients with proactive care support from the first scheduled treatment through the course of therapy. The nurses specialize exclusively in cancer care and can help patients and caregivers understand and manage treatment symptoms and side effects, including depression. Members will also have access to end-of-life planning and support, if those hard decisions become necessary, from the nurses as well as the team of clinicians from Aetna’s Compassionate Care program who have specific expertise in end-of-life support.
US Oncology-affiliated physicians who participate in Aetna’s network, including Texas Oncology, will participate in the initial launch of this program.
“Innovent Oncology supports our more comprehensive approach to cancer care – moving beyond drug utilization to focus on the entire spectrum of patient care,” says R. Steven Paulson, M.D., president and chairman of the board for Texas Oncology, a community-based oncology practice with more than 300 physicians and a member of the United Network of US Oncology. “We’re excited to bring this high-quality program to Aetna members throughout the state of Texas.”
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.1 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com and Aetna’s Annual Report at www.aetna.com/2009annualreport.
About US Oncology
US Oncology, Inc. is the nation’s leading integrated oncology company. By uniting the largest community-based cancer treatment and research network in America, US Oncology expands patient access to high-quality care and advances the science of cancer care. Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, US Oncology is affiliated with more than 1,300 community-based oncologists, and works with patients, hospitals, payers, and the medical industry across all phases of the cancer research and delivery system. By promoting the use of innovative technology, clinical research, evidence-based medicine and shared best practices, US Oncology improves patient outcomes and offers a better patient experience. For more information, visit www.usoncology.com.
About Innovent Oncology
US Oncology expands patient access to high-quality, advanced cancer care through its comprehensive evidence-based medicine and patient care program, Innovent Oncology. Building upon physician and clinician expertise to create value in cancer care, Innovent Oncology uses a powerful reporting and analytic platform to increase efficiencies and reduce treatment variability across the entire patient care continuum. By applying US Oncology’s well-defined Level I Pathways treatment guidelines, proactive patient care management and support, and advance care planning, physicians can enhance the quality and consistency of patient care delivered in communities throughout the nation. The program also strives to align incentives between providers and payers to produce better patient outcomes and an improved patient experience. For more information, call 866-214-2194 or visit www.innoventoncology.com.