Past Accomplishments and Ongoing Initiatives


2019

Assessing Pharmacogenomic Testing for Payors


Simply put, pharmacogenomics is the analysis of a person’s unique DNA profile to determine how they metabolize drugs, so as to guide physician prescribing.  Recognizing that PGx testing is monumental improvement on the hit-or-miss alternative, the Research Consortium's first initiative focused on researching how this testing could be cost-effectively employed by plan sponsors, health systems and payors to identify at-risk patients.  Within a few months, we engaged the services of a number of academic researchers from some of the leading universities in the country and devised a study approach that included our conducting a series of concurrent real-world studies involving carefully targeted groups of self-funded Plan Participants. 

To support our research efforts, we enlisted the assistance of a variety of the industry-leading companies that included genetic testing labs, mobile wallet / engagement platforms, blockchain-based DNA storage facilities and exchanges, clinical research technology companies, etc. and entered into Memorandums of Understandings with each.  Regrettably,  in early 2020 we had to suspend our activities for operational issues owing to the pandemic.  As this research is needed, we will revive this project in 2023.

2020 - 2021

Helping Consumers and Employers Cope with COVID


Upon the emergence of COVID-19, the Research Consortium sprang into action. Our study, COVID-19: ITS TRANSMISSION, AND FACE MASK EFFICACY, The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees helped thousands of employers understand viral transmission, select appropriate face masks and manage the risks, liabilities and regulatory challenges attendant to providing PPE.  At 70 pages, and having some 175 cited references, at the time of its publication it was among the more comprehensive research papers on this topic.



We participated in the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists work- group that created the world's first community face covering specification (AATCC M14-2020 Guidance and Considerations for General Purpose Textile Face Coverings).



We serve on the American Society of Testing and Materials International workgroup, overseen by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which created the ASTM F3502:21 Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings.  We were instrumental in the crafting of the standard's consumer advisory provisions.

We filed a provisional patent for a reusable 4-layer all-natural cotton / silk general-purpose face mask that creates a self-sustaining tribo-electric gram-positive charge that is intended to neutralize gram-negative microbes.  The video at left details the technology and scientific underpinnings of the face covering.  We had biological laboratory testing of the Stay Safer face covering performed but delayed conducting filtration and leakage testing pending updates to the ASTM Barrier Face Covering standard's requirements.  

We conducted the first webinars on the new international face covering standard and published the first employer guide on How to Avoid Buying Your Family and Employees Counterfeit and Substandard Reusable Face Coverings (here)

2021 - 2022

Evaluating Game-Changing Cancer Treatment Technology   


The effective use of multi-drug combination treatments, and the off-label FDA-approved drugs to treat advanced cancer, is widespread.  What is new and emerging is our ability to leverage advanced DNA sequencing and AI-based, supercomputer-powered tools to analyze a tumor’s genomic profile and guide oncologists with their complex decision-making.  The result is an enormous expansion in vetted treatment options, more precise targeting and better outcomes.

 

The Research Consortium was engaged to serve as an industry advisor / product development consultant to a team of world-renown cancer doctors, research scientists and technologists who created a therapeutic decision support platform that identifies drugs known to act against specific cancer mutations then scores and ranks drug combinations that best target the tumor’s actionable variants (i.e., the score correlates to progression-free and overall survival rates).

Until recently, there existed no examination of the relative cost of novel multi-drug anticancer treatments vs. traditional  therapy options, or study as to how knowledge about comparative treatment costs at the point-of-care could be leveraged by doctors, health systems, and payers. 

 

Our March 2022 study challenges common misconceptions about combination cancer treatments, their cost and value.  It gives payers, providers and patients important insight as to how to better select medications that are likely to be more effective and avoid wasteful spending on hugely expensive, low-clinical-value drugs.  

Gaining Control of Combination Cancer Treatment Risk by Incorporating Cost and Value Data into the Drug Selection Process at the Point-of-Care  shows why there is no longer a reason to continue the practice of uninformed, high-stakes oncology prescribing given the emergence of Healthcare AI that can guide drug selection and drive value for payers and patients alike.  It is available for download by clicking on the image above or on MedRxiv here or ResearchGate here.

Equipping Payers to Outsmart Cancer with Game-Changing Healthcare AI describes why payers must embrace the torrent of medical and technological advances that are changing the way we now approach, treat and survive cancer. 

 

Intended for non-clinician payer executives* this presentation explains what cancer really is; new ways to defeat it; why the FDA approval process can't be relied upon to assess new high-cost, low-clinical-value Rxs; and why payers are leveraging Healthcare AI to improve patient outcomes, cut wasteful spending  and extend value-purchasing to include oncology specialty pharmacy.

This presentation is available for download in PowerPoint format (by clicking the image above) and in Adobe Reader format here.  It is also available to be viewed in video form online with full narration here.  Also, don't hesitate to ask us to present it to your audience.

 *  This presentation has been approved for CE credits by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, which was

      established by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.