Friday, August 18, 2023

BCBS Evidence Street To Shut Down in December 2023

BCBS Evidence Street was both an entity for evidence libraries for BCBS plans, and also an entity that could contract and sell projects to fund itself and its expansion.

The Evidence Street web site held a large library of evidence reviews.

If you go there today -

You get a splash screen over-riding the website that says the platform will "sunset" on December 29, 2023. Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

Thanks to policy expert Dr Joel Brill for pointing this out.

Evidence Street doesn't have a Wikipedia entry but ChatGPT (which I can't further verify) gives this short description of Evidence Street. I can concur with what GPT4 writes, but I can't verify it further since my general knowledge of E.S. is limited to having heard a few talks by its leadership.


Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) established the Evidence Street program to provide an impartial platform to assess the clinical effectiveness and value of medical products and technologies. This program evaluates the scientific evidence concerning medical interventions, including drugs, devices, and biological products. The goal is to promote data-driven decisions and ensure that members receive treatments that are both clinically effective and offer good value. Key stakeholders, like medical product manufacturers and the broader healthcare community, submit their clinical evidence to Evidence Street. Then, BCBS uses this information to form coverage policies and make other critical healthcare decisions. By doing so, Evidence Street plays a pivotal role in fostering transparency, consistency, and informed decision-making across the healthcare landscape. This initiative underscores BCBS's commitment to improving patient outcomes and promoting the efficient use of healthcare resources.

I understand it grew out of an earlier division or operating unit called BCBS TEC, tech assessment.   By spinning out as Evidence Street, they wanted to create an entity that could bid on contracts and RFPs and grow.


Yes, that's correct. Before Evidence Street, the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) was responsible for assessing medical technologies to determine their clinical effectiveness. TEC played a crucial role in ensuring that emerging technologies met appropriate standards before they were covered by BCBS insurance plans. However, as the landscape of healthcare evolved and the importance of evidence-based decision-making increased, there arose a need for a more expansive and flexible platform.

Spinning out to form Evidence Street allowed BCBS to establish a more distinct, agile, and focused entity. With its independence, Evidence Street could potentially attract a broader range of stakeholders, respond more dynamically to industry needs, and provide work to outside parties. This move reflected the larger trend in the healthcare industry towards transparency, stakeholder engagement, and evidence-driven decision-making. The creation of Evidence Street was a strategic step to ensure BCBS remained at the forefront of evidence evaluation and maintained its reputation for rigorous, impartial assessments.

Are "HAYES" and "ECRI" also players in this space (fee-for-service evidence evaluation?)


Yes, both HAYES and ECRI Institute are prominent players in the healthcare evidence evaluation space.

HAYES, Inc.: HAYES is recognized for its evidence-based health technology assessments. Their reports focus on the clinical effectiveness and safety of new or unproven medical technologies. HAYES provides these assessments to health plans, providers, and healthcare institutions to help them make informed decisions about adopting and covering these technologies. Their systematic reviews and analyses are aimed at determining whether a technology improves health outcomes and is safe for patients.

ECRI Institute: ECRI is an independent, non-profit organization that dedicates itself to applying scientific research to healthcare policy and practice. They provide a broad range of services, including evaluations of medical devices, procedures, and drugs. ECRI also conducts accident and forensic investigations, helping to improve patient safety. They are known for their rigorous, evidence-based approach, and their findings are often used by hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare entities to guide purchasing and policy decisions.

Both of these organizations, like Evidence Street, help fill a crucial need in the healthcare system by evaluating the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of medical technologies. Their analyses and recommendations often play an integral role in shaping healthcare policy, patient care strategies, and reimbursement decisions.

Could we add the ICER organization in Boston?


Certainly! The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is another notable player in this space.

ICER: Based in Boston, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review is an independent non-profit research organization that evaluates the clinical and economic value of prescription drugs, medical tests, and other health care and health care delivery innovations. Their reports and assessments provide objective, detailed analyses on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medical interventions, and they often play a significant role in informing healthcare payers, providers, and policymakers in the U.S. Their goal is to ensure that patients have access to care at a price that aligns with the value it brings to the system, and they aim to create a healthcare system that is both sustainable and beneficial to patients.

By offering evidence-based recommendations on pricing and coverage policies, ICER works alongside other entities like HAYES, ECRI, and Evidence Street to provide stakeholders with crucial insights to guide decision-making in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.