Employers Action Coalition on Healthcare and Institute for Clinical and Economic Review Launch Prostate Cancer Decision Aid Website

– Several Boston-area provider groups participate in unique effort to direct patients to common source of information on comparative effectiveness of management options for prostate cancer –

Boston, Mass., October 18, 2010 – The Employers Action Coalition on Healthcare (EACH), a group of employers, providers and health plans in Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), part of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment, are launching a new website for patients recently diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer. Based on the results of a comprehensive comparative effectiveness assessment of the management options for this disease conducted by ICER, the website (http://prostateoptions.icer-review.org) was created with input from a national expert group and from expert clinicians from Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.

The website is designed to give patients and their families an objective source of information to help aid decision-making, so that they can have more informed discussions with their doctors about the choices for addressing their prostate cancer diagnosis. Featuring videos from clinicians from across Boston explaining the various options, the website also includes video of a prostate cancer patient talking about what was important to him when he made his decision. In addition, to help patients have a more productive discussion with their provider, patients are able to answer a few questions about their preferences and concerns, print out the information and bring it with them to the doctor’s visit.

“To our knowledge, this website is the first example of a community resource where the major provider groups in one region have collaborated on the content and message of a website and agreed to direct patients to a common resource to help support decision-making,” stated Steven Pearson, MD, President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. “We believe that it is critical for researchers to translate the results of their work in a way that can help patients make better informed decisions about their care. This website is our effort to help patients do just that.”

ICER’s appraisal of the management options for clinically-localized prostate cancer found that among the four common approaches – active surveillance, surgery, and two types of radiation (brachytherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy) – the rates of disease recurrence and survival were comparable. However, the website does highlight differences in other decision-making factors, such as side effects, time in treatment and recovery period.

One key aspect of the website is the information it presents supporting full consideration of “active surveillance” for many men with low-risk prostate cancer. As stated by one of the clinicians appearing on the website, Richard Robinson, MD, medical oncologist with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, “Prostate cancer is the most common solid tumor in men, but is often so slow-growing that many men may never require active treatment for their cancers. Because active surveillance allows physicians to monitor patients and only actively treat those patients whose tumors become more aggressive, an approach of active surveillance may be appropriate for many men. This website offers a comprehensive explanation of active surveillance and the three other most common management approaches, allowing patients the opportunity to understand all of the options before they make a final decision.”

The provider groups in EACH have begun directing newly-diagnosed patients to the website and ICER is planning to evaluate the patterns of care across the provider groups before and after the launch of the website. This website, http://prostateoptions.icer-review.org, is a free and open resource for any provider group wishing to use comparative effectiveness information with patients in their practice.

About EACH
The Employers Action Coalition on Healthcare is a cross community coalition of payers, providers and employers in Massachusetts working together to significantly reduce the rate of increase in commercial healthcare spending by improving the value, quality and efficiency of healthcare services and delivery and by encouraging consumers of healthcare to become more active participants in and active managers of their own healthcare decisions. EACH is comprised of representatives from the provider groups at Atrius Health, Boston Medical Center, Partners Healthcare, Tufts Medical Center and Winchester Hospital; the health plans Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan; the employers EMC, AstraZeneca and MassMutual; and the employer and purchaser consortia Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Business Roundtable and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Bain & Company is also providing vital support of the EACH effort through administrative and strategic planning expertise.

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of new and emerging technologies. Structured as a fully transparent organization, ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all. For more information, please visit www.icer-review.org.