To try to help researchers gather current data about the effectiveness of HIV treatments-and to help repair managed care's tattered image-the American Association of Health Plans is spearheading an Internet-based project that will help bypass lengthy clinical trials and put clinical data quickly into researchers' hands.
Officials said they are in the final stages of developing an interactive World Wide Web site including a massive database of such treatment-related information.
The project aims to keep tabs on the way so-called AIDS cocktails-combinations of drugs to hold the AIDS virus at bay-work in individual patients.
The AAHP announced the upcoming launch of the new venture, dubbed the HIV Treatment Data Project, at its Managed Care Institute meeting last month in San Francisco.
HIV-positive patients will be selected from three test sites and will update data about their treatments and outcomes on-line. Aggregate data, which will not identify patients, will be included in a database available to participants, their physicians and researchers.
The data will be measured and compared with other clinical studies. Research will be coordinated by Sherrie Kaplan, co-director of the Primary Care Outcomes Research Institute at 349-bed New England Medical Center in Boston.
The three pilot sites are:
* Morris Heights Health Center, which is an affiliate of Bronx Health Plan, a Medicaid HMO that has many HIV-positive enrollees and is located in the Bronx borough of New York.
* The private practice of Howard Grossman, M.D., a New York primary-care physician who specializes in AIDS care.
* A Kaiser Permanente HIV clinic in Santa Clara, Calif.
A national rollout of the project will follow, with thousands of HIV-positive patients reporting their data on an Internet site accessible to the public. The full launch is expected by early next year.