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CVS CMO addresses population health issues at HLTH 2018

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Today at HLTH 2018, a health care innovation conference taking place this week in Las Vegas, Nevada, CVS Health chief medical officer Dr. Troyen Brennan delivered a keynote address outlining CVS Health’s unique potential to help change current paradigms for addressing population health.

Dr. Troyen Brennan delivered a keynote address outlining CVS Health’s unique potential to help change current paradigms for addressing population health.

Dr. Brennan outlined how the combination of data-driven insights and the convenience of community-based retail health care can provide a highly personalized health care experience that supports the primary care medical home and can improve patient outcomes and lower costs.

“Chronic disease in America is growing and our ability to pay for it is shrinking,” said Brennan. “At CVS Health, our goal is to make care more accessible, affordable and convenient to help create a healthier population. Our unique enterprise-wide capabilities, including our vast physical retail footprint and digital and analytic capabilities, put us within reach of nearly every American, which allows us to help create a new standard for health care engagement.”

Today, just five% of the U.S. population is driving approximately 50% of total health care spend at more than $50,000 per patient annually. Many of these patients have common chronic diseases which, when unmanaged, can result in costly and sometimes debilitating medical complications. In addition, when patients experience transitions in care from the hospital to a home setting, more than 40% of resulting hospital readmissions are preventable, totaling more than $17 billion in avoidable costs in Medicare.

Brennan discussed the potential for CVS Health to “create a new, unique chassis for population health management” by complementing the traditional use of telephonic case management with digitally-gathered information and real medical intelligence combined with in-person visits to conveniently located health care hubs based at MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy.

“We are looking to narrow the distance between patients in their everyday lives and the caregiving facility by leveraging digital data and making health care accessible in convenient community locations,” Brennan said.

Brennan noted that initial pilots exploring retail-based population health management will focus on three target groups of patients: those with five common chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma and depression); fragile patients who disproportionately drive a large percentage of total health care costs; and patients transitioning from a hospital setting, who require focused care to prevent readmissions and avoidable costs.

To support interventions with these patient populations, the company will be exploring innovations in four major categories including new ways to coordinate health care interventions at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic; improved health monitoring and data collection in patients’ homes; enhanced outreach to patients using a variety of disruptive digital tools; and embedded connectivity with patients’ primary care providers to complement and enhance preventive care.

“Without true innovation, more people will simply be without health care in the future,” Brennan warned. “At CVS Health, we share in the responsibility to create a healthier population and a better, more sustainable health care system, and our goal is to do this by removing unnecessary costs through high quality and coordinated care.”

Dr. Brennan discussed how the company is using advanced analytics and enhancing its digital capabilities in areas such as telemedicine and home-based biometric monitoring for certain conditions. For example, a connected glucometer could help monitor a patient’s blood sugar and send an alert to a CVS Health provider for intervention if a patient’s levels are too high. Between regular doctor visits, a patient with a chronic condition such as diabetes or hypertension could see a MinuteClinic provider for a series of tests to help understand how their medications are working, make adjustments to their therapeutic regimen, and receive tailored counseling on adherence and lifestyle management. In addition, telemedicine can also help fill the gaps between in-person visits to a local CVS Pharmacy or primary care provider. All information gathered during these visits could be captured and shared via the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) with their primary care provider and other members of the patient’s care team to help ensure connected care. This high-touch, integrated model could also be used to help patients transition from a hospital stay back to their home in order to help prevent unnecessary ER visits or hospital readmissions.

“We can stay in touch with the primary care doctor and integrate with their care of the patient in a way that complements and doesn’t compete with the delivery of primary care in the medical home,” Brennan concluded. “We believe that by applying artificial-intelligence evaluated data with a human touch we will be able to provide a much better approach to population health management than has previously been available.”


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