First home infusion pilot program for cancer patients in New Jersey underway

The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJ Barnabas Health have partnered with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to launch a pilot program that provides home infusion cancer treatments to eligible patients, the first of its kind in the State.

The Horizon Home Infusion pilot program provides cancer care to patients from the comfort of their own homes, limiting exposure in hospital settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Steven Libuti, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and vice-president Senior President of Oncology. Services at RWJ Barnabas Health.

He said the goal was to seek ways to better accommodate patients given the challenges they have faced over the past 18 months with the pandemic.

“What we hope to achieve here for selected patients and for selected agents, that is, the therapies that these patients receive, in order to determine which patients after having received an initial treatment in our infusion center, can receive further treatments in the comfort of their home, ”said Libuti.

He added that safety and efficacy are first and foremost. There are specific diagnoses and specific agents on the list of approved treatment regimens. From the point of view of patient assessment, the home situation should be such that the home infusion can be administered safely.

To do this, nurses trained in home infusion go to the patient’s home and perform a telemedicine visit for the patient and their provider at home before undergoing the drug infusion.

It can be difficult for some patients, both financially and logistically, to come and go for treatment in an infusion center. Libuti if there is an option for the patient where they do not have to go to the infusion site, this is patient and provider satisfaction.

The real mission is to keep care as close to home as possible. No patient should have to travel more than 15 or 20 minutes for exceptional care. “What could be closer than home?” Libuti asked.

With the pilot program, information will be gathered on patient and provider satisfaction, logistics, quality and cost. This will then factor into what the program will look like in its final form.

It is believed to be the first home oncology infusion in New Jersey. But Libuti said it was not the first in the country. Since other locations have successfully implemented such programs, he is confident that by working with Horizon partners, they will be able to deliver a safe, effective and quality-enhancing program for patients. New Jersey cancer patients.

“We are constantly re-evaluating the types of cancers we can treat with the home infusion, the types of agents we can safely administer for the home infusion, and we plan to end the pilot phase of the program within six. to the next nine months. “Libuti said. Then a decision will be made as to what the program will look like in the future.

In terms of implementing treatment options, he said there have been treatments linked to breast cancer and others.

The first infusion treatment is given in an infusion center. Subsequent treatments are administered at home.

So far, 100 patients have been screened for the pilot program.

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