Dr David Eedes and Dr Ernst Marais. Picture: SUPPLIED/ICON GROUP
Dr David Eedes and Dr Ernst Marais. Picture: SUPPLIED/ICON GROUP

For anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, time is of the essence. In an ideal world, treatment plans should begin as soon as possible to stop the disease from spreading, but archaic authorisation processes can stop patient care in its tracks – sometimes by as much as four weeks.

To give cancer patients immediate access to life-saving treatments following diagnosis, Icon Oncology developed e-Auth, its proprietary SAAS (software as a service). By connecting oncologists to medical schemes through intelligent cloud computing, doctors can submit evidence-based treatment plans for authorisation and have them approved in real time so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. This is in sharp contrast to the excessively long authorisation lead times that the industry can experience.

“Waiting for weeks for authorisation to be granted is extremely stressful for a patient, especially if they are in the early stages of their cancer. Icon, a network of oncologists representing more than 80% of the industry, developed a tool that allows oncologists to give their patients care as soon as is viably possible,” says Dr Ernst Marais, COO at Icon Oncology. 

The business-to-business technology, which is a first in SA, is now being used by some of the country’s largest medical schemes such as Discovery Health and Medihelp. It gives oncologists access to a database of evidence-based protocols developed by doctors in the Icon network and pre-approved by Icon’s medical-aid partners. 

Based on the value-based care model, which puts the patient at the centre of their care, these evidence-based protocols can decrease the cost of treatments by up to 27% while improving patient outcomes. 

“When an oncologist chooses an Icon-approved protocol, it is automatically submitted to the respective medical aid and approved on receipt, in real time, removing all of the administrative headaches and giving oncologists much-needed time to get their patients onto the right care, right away,” says Marais.

The time saved also greatly benefits the medical aids, which typically need staff to manage the administration relating to the lengthy authorisation process. e-Auth reduces this need. 

“Not only do our evidence-based protocols save the schemes 27% on oncology costs but we also save them a vast amount of time that would otherwise have been spent on admin,” says Marais. 

For more information about Icon and its e-Auth tool, visit www.iconsa.co.za

This article was paid for by the Icon Group.