BCBS Louisiana, Cardinal Health partner for cancer research quality improvement

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions have announced the launch of a joint program aimed at improving cancer treatment using clinical pathways.

The IT-enabled program is meant to help identify and promote best clinical practices in treatment methods for select types of cancer.

"Our goal with this joint program is to work with doctors to improve the consistency, quality and cost-effectiveness of cancer treatment," said David Carmouche, MD, Blue Cross senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Blue Cross clinical staff will work with oncologists and hematologists throughout Louisiana, combining collaborative dialogue and clinical research with the latest technology, all aimed at encouraging high-quality, evidence-based standards of care to ensure best patient outcomes, said Carmouche.

Blue Cross and Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions will establish a committee composed of network oncologists in communities across the state. The committee will identify evidence-based treatment regimens, or clinical pathways, for delivering patient care for breast, colon and lung cancers, among others.

Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions is an independent company that provides technology and education to help physicians implement, and monitor current and new treatment methods in order to achieve better outcomes. The tools track clinical results and cost savings, while adding little administrative work for the oncologists and hematologists who participate, officials say.

As of the program's launch date, Blue Cross has secured 100 percent participation of community oncologists in the Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport markets. Blue Cross network oncologists and hematologists who successfully implement the pathways program may be eligible for rewards and will be noted in the health insurer's searchable online provider directory.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will use Cardinal Health's medical benefit management system, PathWare Decision Transaction Solutions, which is designed to help physicians to participate in clinical pathways programs. The system offers real-time decision support at the point of care, including easy access to clinical pathways for various types of cancer.

"Patients who would benefit most from this cancer care pathways program are already facing big challenges in their health," said Mike Reitz, Blue Cross president and CEO. "Knowing they are getting treatment from doctors who are focused on continuous quality improvement should give them some peace of mind."