One of the leading ways that we as a nation are going to improve the quality of health care while putting a firm brake on cost increases is to collect and analyze clinical data to determine the best treatment options. Health insurers have a large role to play in this process because we have both the numbers-crunching capabilities and enormous data banks of claims information.
Historically it’s hasn’t been easy for insurers to look at the quality of cancer care because cancer is so complicated and claims information tells us so little about the patient. UnitedHealthcare went to work on this challenge three years ago.
And now we have some results!
A few weeks ago, UnitedHealthcare announced that we have launched our Oncology Care Analysis (OCA), which is the very first program to combine clinical and claims data to gauge the quality of cancer patient care based on approved treatment guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 21 leading cancer centers.
UnitedHealthcare’s cancer registry includes clinical and claims data from more than 2,600 oncologists and 8,600 patients across the country with breast, colon or lung cancer. The powerful combination of cancer stage data and claims information creates a coordinated electronic medical record of a patient’s care and then compares that treatment regimen to existing NCCN guidelines.
We are sharing the results with participating oncologists to help improve the quality of cancer care and lead to better outcomes for patients. And it goes without saying that in doing so we’re complying with every privacy law.
UnitedHealthcare’s OCA program incorporates the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™, a widely accepted source of guidelines for cancer care in the United States, and the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium™, which is based on the NCCN guidelines and contains scientifically derived information designed to support decision-making about appropriate use of drugs and biologics for cancer patients.
Developing the OCA data base was a collaborative effort between NCCN, UnitedHealthcare and Ingenix, UnitedHealth Group’s health information, technology and consulting company.
By the way, the NCCN is quite an impressive group of cancer-fighting organizations. It includes City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Cancer Institute, Memphis, TN; Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE; The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN.
Wow, that’s a lot of intellectual fire power!