Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and University of Michigan Health System Launch Statewide Initiative to Evaluate and Improve Genetic Testing


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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System are collaborating with physicians and laboratories across the state as part of a new initiative to improve genetic testing practices. Called the Genetic Testing Resource and Quality Consortium, this initiative will help medical professionals determine whether genetic testing should be used in common clinical scenarios, and which tests will benefit patients the most. Participants also will develop best practices for performing the tests, improving testing quality and advising patients on genetic testing recommendations. “This initiative will develop evidence-based guidelines to help physicians and their patients make important decisions about whether or not to get tested and, when testing is indicated, which tests will best meet their health needs and goals,” said David Share, M.D., senior vice president, Value Partnerships, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “This is truly a collaborative in every sense. We’ve received input from providers through multiple statewide forums to help identify the goals and develop the structure of this initiative,” said Scott Owens, M.D., co-clinical director of the initiative, director of the Division of Quality and Health Improvement in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System as well as an associate professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School. This is the first of the 21 initiatives in the Michigan Blues’ Collaborative Quality Initiative program to include a wide variety of provider types, including pathologists and genetic counselors, along with primary care and specialist physicians. “We’re recruiting participants now, and then we’ll start the process of reviewing medical literature, clinical protocols and patient data to determine the most appropriate tests.” said David Keren, M.D., co-clinical director of the initiative and director, Division of Clinical Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System. “We’ll then focus on making sure the right tests are performed the right way, at the right time, for the right patient and for the right reasons.” Across Michigan, 75 large and medium size acute care hospitals participate in at least one Collaborative Quality Initiative, or CQI. Collectively, the CQIs analyze the care given to more than 200,000 Michigan patients annually. Five CQIs have saved $597 million in health costs over a five-year period by reducing and preventing complications and improving patient outcomes. In total, there are now 21 CQIs focused on a variety of clinical and surgical areas including bariatric surgery, general surgery, angioplasty, vascular disease, cardiothoracic surgery, hospital medicine safety, breast cancer, trauma center quality, anesthesiology, hip and knee replacement, spine surgery, surgical episodes of care, radiation treatment for cancer and prostate cancer. For more information on Collaborative Quality Initiatives, visit or For more information on the Genetics initiative, please visit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit and The University of Michigan Health System is a national leader in advanced patient care, innovative research to improve human health and comprehensive education of physicians, health professionals and medical scientists. UMHS includes the 1,000-bed hospital complex and 41 clinical care locations of the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers, which attracts patients from every county in Michigan as well as from other states and nations. It also includes the U-M Medical School with its 1,800-physician Faculty Group Practice, numerous research laboratories and projects funded by more than $460 million in research grants, and highly regarded training programs for physicians and biomedical scientists. UMHS has earned many recognitions for quality & safety from U.S. News & World Report, the Leapfrog Group and beyond. More information: Photo Credit: Public Health Image Library
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