Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Value Tools in Managed Care Decision Making

Written By: Jason Shafrin - May• 25•17

Along with co-authors Jeremy Schafer and Dominic Galante, I have a new paper out in JMCP this month.  The abstract is below, but do read the whole piece here.

BACKGROUND: Organizations such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, and Memorial Sloan Kettering have created distinct tools to help different stakeholders assess the value of oncology treatments. However, the oncology value tools were not necessarily created for payers, and it is unclear whether payers are using these tools as part of their drug management process.

OBJECTIVE: To understand what value tools payers are using in oncology management and what benefits and shortcomings the tools may have from the payer perspective.

METHODS: A survey targeting drug coverage decision makers at health plans was conducted in August 2016. Respondents attesting to using 2 or more value tools in drug management were eligible for an additional in-depth interview to understand the respondents’ perceived benefits and shortcomings of current value tools. Respondents also were asked to describe desired attributes of a hypothetical payer-centric value tool.

RESULTS: A total of 28 respondents representing approximately 160 million commercially insured medical lives completed the survey. Twenty respondents (71%) reported using at least 1 value tool in their drug management process. Twelve respondents (43%) used at least 2 tools, and 4 respondents (14%) used at least 3 tools. A total of 6 respondents were selected for in-depth interviews. Interviewees praised value tools for advancing the discussion on drug value and incorporating clinical evidence. However, interviewees felt available value tools varied on providing firm recommendations and relevant price benchmarks. Respondents most commonly recommended the following attributes of a proposed payer-centric value framework: taking a firm position on product value; product comparisons in lieu of comparative clinical trials; web-based tool access; and tool updates at least quarterly. Interview respondents also expressed some support for allowing manipulation of inputs and inclusion of quality-of-life and patient-reported outcome data.

CONCLUSIONS: Although nearly half of payers surveyed use 2 or more value tools in the drug management process, payers identified a number of areas where the tools could be revised to increase their utility to payers.

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