Collaborative Cancer Care Center Launches in Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania will now have a new collaborative care center focused on cancer through an initiative from Highmark, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cancer Institute and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The idea behind the project is to establish replicable best practices for cancer care.

As you might guess from a name like Cancer Collaborative, the Highmark project will consist of several interdependent initiatives that will work to create treatments, payment methods and administrative processes that improve outcomes and reduce cost of care. The project will also offer access to early stage clinical trials and second opinions for patients with rare and complex cancers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

“Our goal with this collaborative is to create decision support tools to guide physicians across western Pennsylvania and beyond based on the most advanced medical science. The idea is to reduce pockets of unwarranted variation in cancer care while ensuring that leading-edge cancer treatment protocols are available to everyone who needs them,” said David Parda, MD, Chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.

The Highmark Cancer Collaborative uses the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines as the basis for its protocols and the decision support software it offers clinicians. In addition to these guidelines, and the ones that emerge from the project, patients may find new treatment options like being able to be treated from home. According to Highmark, where medically appropriate, patients are encouraged to receive treatments in alternative sites of care in more convenient and cost-effective settings outside of the hospital.

Highmark is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company isn’t the first to consider collaborative care projects. Other insurers are getting in on the act as well across the country in an effort to increase efficiency and improve outcomes. Northwell and EmblemHealth recently agreed to a risk sharing collaborative care model in New York. That model will allow the two companies to manage patient care claims across a bigger network of entities.