EMERGING TESTS

Use of Cologuard Test Will Be Placed in 2017 HEDIS Guidelines

By Ron Shinkman, Editor, Laboratory Industry Report

Exact Sciences’ molecular colorectal cancer test will be included in the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) updated guidelines for screening for the disease.

NCQA plans to include recommendations of using the test, known as Cologuard, every three years in its 2017 edition of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) for screening for colorectal cancer.

HEDIS is one of the major litmus tests for the quality of care being delivered to patients by hospitals, medical groups, physicians and other providers. It is widely used by commercial health plans to rate providers for its members.

“Inclusion in the HEDIS quality measures is an important milestone toward Cologuard becoming a standard of care for colon cancer screening,” said Exact Chief Executive Officer Kevin Conroy in a statement. "Physicians, health systems and insurers would receive quality credit for using this patient-friendly screening option, which we believe will hasten its adoption."

Proper colorectal cancer screening for Americans over the age of 50 has been connected to colonoscopies, an intrusive procedure that requires general anesthesia. The Cologuard test requires a stool sample instead that can be sent from the patient’s home. Its costs are about one-quarter that of a typical colonoscopy.

The Wisconsin-based Exact Sciences obtained approval for the test from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014.

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