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Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research and Premera Blue Cross announce Innovation Collaborative

Photo by Susie Fitzhugh
Dr. Scott Ramsey Photo by Susie Fitzhugh

SEATTLE – June 26, 2013 – Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Research Outcomes (HICOR) and Premera Blue Cross have launched a partnership to improve patient care by deploying innovative strategies that enhance quality in healthcare delivery through consumer and provider engagement.

The two-year partnership, known as the Innovation Collaborative, breaks new ground in healthcare economics by bringing a range of cancer care stakeholders together in new ways to address gaps in quality and cost-effectiveness in treatment.

“Despite clear cancer-treatment guidelines, too often there’s a disconnect between what the medical community calls ‘best practice’ care and what patients actually receive, which ultimately leads to higher costs and financial burdens,” said Scott Ramsey, M.D., Ph.D., director of HICOR and a member of the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “The partnership between HICOR and Premera will create new opportunities to improve our cancer care delivery and financing systems in real time.”

“Our aim is to deliver new approaches that help consumers and healthcare professionals make more informed decisions about cancer treatment,” said Rakesh “Roki” Chauhan, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at Premera Blue Cross. “Premera will couple HICOR’s clinical knowledge with our own data to develop and improve benefit designs and patient health-management programs.”

The wide range of treatment options and their costs are often overwhelming and confusing to patients. For example, patients with advanced gastric cancer currently have six different chemotherapy drug combination options which range in price from $800 to $57,000. The Collaborative seeks to simplify treatment options, by identifying how to make high-value, evidence-based cancer treatment protocols more quickly accessible to patients and providers.

The Collaborative’s activities will initially target high-impact cancers with the most opportunity to increase use of effective treatment options for patients. Premera will put the results of the Collaborative into action through innovative benefit designs, physician contracts and health management programs that reward consumers and physicians when they make more informed decisions that follow recognized best-practices. The resulting findings and recommended strategies for care will be shared by Premera and HICOR for implementation by other health plans healthcare systems. HICOR will also share data with outside experts for use in their research to support further breakthrough and innovation in cancer care delivery.


About Fred Hutch and HICOR
HICOR (the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research) is an innovative research institute that leverages the scientific excellence and oncology expertise of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The mission of HICOR is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment to reduce the financial and human burdens of cancer.

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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About Premera
Premera Blue Cross is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 1.5 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. Premera Blue Cross, which has operated in Washington since 1933, is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., providing health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness and other related products and services. The family of companies employs approximately 3,000 people and provides healthcare coverage and related services to nearly 1.7 million members. Please visit and for more information.

Gina Maffei
(206) 838-3444