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CareFirst to try out prostate test as part of technology deal

Carefirst CEO Chet Burrell (File)

Carefirst CEO Chet Burrell (File)

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield will be trying out a prostate test as part of its initiative to work with small, early-stage companies on new technologies and advances in health care.

The Baltimore health care company has an agreement with Exosome Diagnostics Inc. of Boston to work together to study whether there is evidence to support health insurance coverage of Exosome’s new diagnostic tests.

The first test to be evaluated under the deal is Exosome’s Prostate Intelliscore test, which is designed to accurately rule out high-grade prostate cancer, enabling people to avoid biopsies. The test will be available at some urology group practices in Maryland, as part of the study.

The deal is the first through CareFirst’s HealthWorx initiative to work with early-stage companies that face a slow process in getting their products approved for insurance coverage.

CareFirst President and CEO Chet Burrell said in a statement that the program has the potential to speed up the process.  Its goal is to to improve health care quality and reduce costs.

The companies will evaluate the tests using clinical outcome and cost analyses, with the aim of boosting coverage approval for products that show measurable benefits.

CareFirst will become Exosome’s preferred partner for evidence development studies.