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Taking Aim at Cancer Costs

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, October 10, 2012

"When we look at the data, these are the cancers where the most opportunity lies to reduce treatment variance. Normally, when you reduce variance, you improve quality and promote efficacy," he says.

The HAP effort will include the appropriate use of generic chemotherapy. "If there's no difference in quality and safety and the generic drug is less expensive, then there's no reason not to use it," says Calabria.

The insurer hopes to enlist 200 oncologists from its network to participate in the voluntary program. Among the program goals is to engage the oncology community, which Calabria says hasn't always been done up to now. In a productive first step, the best practices, or pathways, have been developed by a steering committee comprised of community oncologists and peers.

Down the road, HAP may look at expanding the program to radiation oncology management.

For now, HAP will monitor how physicians perform against the pathways and monitor outcome measures, which may include reduced emergency department visits and hospital admissions as a result of chemo-related complications.

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