Phased Pilot Will Bring Oncology-specific Mental Health, 24×7 Nursing Support, Peer Mentors to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Members in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine
Canton, Mass., June 17 2022 —Point32Health, the parent organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and OncoHealth, the leading digital health company dedicated to oncology, today kicked off a collaboration aimed at improving clinical outcomes, enhancing the quality of life, and providing personalized supportive care for members who are facing cancer. In the first stage of the phased pilot, Point32Health’s implementation of Iris™ by OncoHealth, a digital telehealth service for people with cancer, will be offered to eligible Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
“Our members who have cancer and their caregivers need specialized support to answer questions that may arise outside of scheduled appointments. Collaborating with OncoHealth will provide our members with access to cancer specialists anywhere, at any time and in a location that is convenient for them,” said Michael Sherman, MD, MBA, MS, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Point32Health. “As a leader in providing access to innovative tools to support the whole health of our members, we look forward to studying the impact of this pilot and how it improves our members’ quality of life and support their treatment.”
Iris™ combines human-centered design, mobile technology, data, empathy, and specially trained US-based oncology experts to deliver personalized, oncology-specific telehealth support to members and their families facing cancer, 24×7. Iris™ is designed for members with cancer and their caregivers, enabling them to connect with a team of licensed oncology experts easily and securely via chat, phone, or video. This includes connecting with oncology doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physician assistants and peer mentors, where and when they want, using their existing Apple® iPhone® and Google® Android™ smart devices as well as the web.
“Regardless of whether you live in an area without an oncologist or cancer-specific mental health resources or close to the best cancer centers in the region, what do you do when side effects show up after hours or you just need to talk with someone about your fears and anxiety related to your specific cancer?” said Rick Dean, CEO of OncoHealth. “Through Iris™, eligible Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members will now have access to high-quality cancer mental health care and physical symptom management, all at no cost to the member, from the convenience of wherever they are, at the time they need it.”
Through Iris™, eligible Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members will have access to previously unattainable, straightforward, evidence-based services through each phase of their treatment journey in a single integrated platform.
- Personalized 24×7 oncology nurse care. Cancer-related symptoms and side effects can lead to costly emergency department visits or even hospitalizations. These situations can happen on the weekend, in the middle of the night, or at other unforeseen times.
- Oncology-specific mental health care. Tailored specifically to people with cancer, the Iris™ mental health solution supports members who would like guidance on topics such as fear of recurrence, how to talk with their family or employer about their diagnosis, and effective coping strategies for the emotional side of cancer. Members can access evidence-based, self-directed oncology mental health information or schedule time directly via Iris™ on the member’s smart device, to work with a trained cancer-specific mental health expert employed by OncoHealth.
- A network of peer mentors. Members will have access to people who share similar characteristics as members, such as their gender, age, cancer diagnosis, and treatment. Utilizing a peer mentor coach, members can use asynchronous communication or live sessions to better understand the benefits and value of the Iris™ telehealth platform while forming a trusted relationship with someone who has had a similar experience.
- Peace of mind with expert reviews. The FDA has approved over 279 new cancer indications since 2017. As they manage their illness, people are often overwhelmed and confused trying to understand if their prescribed therapy is most appropriate for them, based on their specific disease, cancer stage, and genetic profile. Iris™ provides members with a trusted second opinion on their cancer drug therapy, using evidence-based guidelines and personalized information including audio, video, and written content specific to their cancer or interest.
“While the member’s oncologist leads their treatment, our clinical team is available for the moments in between,” said Andrew Norden, MD, Chief Medical Officer of OncoHealth. “We know we can have a positive impact on the member experience, improve care and reduce costs, all while working in close collaboration with the member’s primary oncologist and care team.”
Point32Health and two other prominent health plans worked with OncoHealth to develop Iris™ and are among the first health plans in the country to make the platform available to its members. Leading up to this benchmark, a cohort of cancer patients in Massachusetts tested and used the Iris™ platform to provide feedback and insight into maximizing its effectiveness and ease of use.
Point32Health is a leading health and wellbeing organization, delivering an ever-better health care experience to everyone in our communities. Building on the quality, nonprofit heritage of our founding organizations, Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, we leverage our experience and expertise to help people find their version of healthier living through a broad range of health plans and tools that make navigating health and wellbeing easier.
Our programs take a 360-degree view of health for our members—no matter their age, health, race, identity or income. Our Institute works to improve population health—and our Foundation works with communities to support, advocate and advance healthier lives for everyone. We use empathy to understand what’s important to those we serve, always making their priorities our own. And we work to guide and empower people by bringing together wide-ranging partners and perspectives to create new approaches that make a real difference for our community, our industry and our 2.2 million members across New England.
OncoHealth is a leading digital health company dedicated to helping health plans, employers, providers, patients, and life science researchers navigate the physical, mental, and financial complexities of cancer through technology-enabled services and real-world data analytics. Supporting more than 7 million people in the US and Puerto Rico, OncoHealth offers digital solutions for treatment review, real-world evidence, and telehealth across all cancer types. For more information, visit www.oncohealth.us.