Cigna launched a digital consult service for cancer patients and their providers, the company said Thursday.
The service, operated through the company's Evernorth healthcare services division, connects patients with lung, breast, colon and other complex cancers and their local oncologists with specialists at National Cancer Institute centers. Experts at the more than 20 NCI facilities nationwide can review patients' treatment plans and diagnoses and recommend testing, therapies or clinical trial opportunities.
Through the virtual second opinion service, Cigna aims to promote better patient outcomes and reduce costs without forcing patients to physically travel to outside experts.
Cigna's service is available for select insurer clients and will be expanded to include more customers of both the insurer and its Evernorth eviCore analytics platform.
The company did not immediately respond to an interview request about what health plans the service is available for and which types of outside customers it will target.
In a pilot with Cigna health plan customers, community oncologists had their treatment plans reviewed by PinnacleCare, a healthcare navigation and advisory firm owned by Sun Life Financial services company. In 40% of cases reviewed, NCI specialists recommended alternative tests or treatments than patients' local providers had prescribed.
The program expands on Cigna's personalized cancer care management, mental health services and financial support, the insurer said in a news release.