Freelancer writer in tech branding- Yabsira Endalekachaw

Revolutionizing Healthcare: CVS Health Pioneers Forward-Thinking Solutions for Better Patient Outcomes

 In an era where the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, CVS Health has emerged as a pioneer, equipped with a range of transformative strategies that are reshaping the healthcare experience. With a visionary approach and an unwavering commitment to superior patient care, CVS Health is redefining industry standards and infusing innovation into every aspect of healthcare.

In this compelling narrative of pioneering initiatives, we dive into how CVS Health is leading a healthcare revolution. From groundbreaking technologies to reimagined delivery models, they fearlessly challenge the status quo, with the singular objective of creating a healthier future for communities around the world.

Expansion of Telehealth Services

  In 2015, CVS Health announced its collaboration with three top telehealth companies to expand patients’ access to remote consultations with doctors via the internet or telephone. As part of this initiative, American Well, Teladoc, and Doctor on Demand will soon be able to consult with patients at 150 CVS walk-in clinics across six states. This move underscores CVS Health’s dedication to broadening its range of healthcare services beyond medications, as reported by CNBC.

Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed CVS Health making strategic acquisitions and partnerships, such as the acquisition of Target pharmacies, which solidify the company’s direction.

Most recently, CVS Health disclosed its partnerships with three leading telehealth companies – American Well, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc. CVS Minute Clinics have already integrated telehealth into their waiting rooms, enabling patients to be seen promptly by available providers in the same state. These new partnerships extend telehealth capabilities beyond the confines of clinic waiting rooms to the homes of consumers.

 In a press release about CVS Health’s telehealth partnerships, Brian Tilzer, CVS Health’s Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, emphasized the company’s commitment to connected health and digital technology in enhancing the healthcare experience. “A key aspect of our strategy is forming partnerships within the industry. We recognize that some of the most innovative ideas are already being developed, hence we are dedicated to collaborating with other companies to explore and expand on these concepts collectively.”

CVS Health’s spirit of possibility is not only encouraging but also sets a commendable example for payers and providers to emulate. The evolving healthcare consumer demands new services that require innovative business models. Furthermore, CVS Health can further invest in and expand their telehealth services to provide convenient and accessible remote healthcare, encompassing virtual doctor visits, remote monitoring of chronic conditions, and medication consultations.

2. Enhanced Digital Solutions: CVS Health

Consumers wish for more holistic, personalized, and digitally-enabled healthcare experiences, while facing various barriers to achieving desired health outcomes. In 2022, CVS Health plans to invest over $3 billion in optimizing and expanding their digital infrastructure and other related initiatives.

Transformation Starts With Efficiency

As a pioneer of hyper-automation, CVS Health has long leveraged RPA, AI, and other business process automation tools to optimize its support functions. For example, by employing a combination of AI, RPA, machine learning, data analytics, and natural language processing (NLP), CVS Health was able to automate its prescription intake, benefits administration, and revenue cycle management processes.

During an August 2021 earnings call, CEO Karen Lynch explained, “Our technology-driven programs are leveraging blockchain, driving cloud migration, and intelligent automation, streamlining processes to accelerate results and generate greater impact. An example is a specialty pharmacy script automation program that uses artificial intelligence to yield better results more quickly, while eliminating more than 30 manual steps, such as benefit verification and prior authorization.”

Personalized Healthcare

CVS Health partners with IBM Watson to build an AI tool to promote flu vaccine awareness. In an interview last year, Norman de Greve, CVS Pharmacy’s Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, explained, “Our work with the ‘Flu Insights with Watson’ tool on The Weather Channel app achieved our goal of reaching and engaging customers in high-risk flu areas to drive awareness of flu shot offerings, as well as cough, cold, and flu medications.”

The campaign targeted consumers as they checked The Weather Channel app, presumably to make decisions about upcoming activities and travel, with messaging about flu shot offerings as well as cold and flu remedies available at nearby CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. 

With competition from digital pharmacy startups mounting, CVS Health is developing new ways to use its extensive enterprise data assets strategically. 

For example, using AI and machine learning, CVS can sync multiple prescriptions to be ready on the same day, suggest side-effect counseling, and further accelerate the refill process.

The Future of Health is Digital

If CVS Health’s most recent C-level hire is any indication, it looks like their digital journey is only just beginning. In July 2022, the company announced the hiring of a new Chief Data, Digital, and Technology Officer, Tilak Mandadi

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “Before Mr. Mandadi’s appointment, technology leadership at CVS was divided among the president of data and analytics, the Chief Information Security Officer, the CIO, the Senior Vice President of Digital Engineering and Architecture, and the SVP of Digital Products, User Experience, and Operations, each of them reporting to different business leaders.

The creation of the new role is meant to bring those spheres together, eliminate silos, and take a more integrated company approach to technology.”

 Could a healthcare metaverse help expand and democratize patient care?   It certainly has the potential to.

Partnerships and Collaborations CVS Health

As supplier diversity programs mature and the business landscape changes, corporations are at a crossroads. Do they continue down the familiar but well-worn path they’ve trod, or seek innovation through disruption or collaboration? Will we need systems thinking or design thinking for the future?
Forging a new path for the next 50 years of supplier diversity means there will be many new models to address emergent needs. CVS Health has chosen a practical and solution-focused approach to solving the problem of how to increase spending with diverse suppliers.
In March 2018, CVS Health hosted the Supplier Diversity 2020 Ideation Session, requesting the presence, experience, and best practices of individuals within the CVS Health supplier diversity team and beyond to address a new goal of increasing spending with diverse suppliers from $1 billion to $1.5 billion by 2020.

“The CVS Health supplier diversity ideation session underscores the forward-thinking approach to increasing supplier utilization and development that earned CVS Health the 2018 Program of the Year honor from the NGLCC and its partners in the National Business Inclusion Consortium,” said Jonathan Lovitz, Senior Vice President at NGLCC. 

  “It was a thrill to be at the table with fellow certifying body leaders, top diverse suppliers, and the incredibly supportive CVS Health team, which has made supplier diversity an essential practice throughout its entire enterprise. NGLCC looks forward to seeing continued success for  our certified LGBT Business Enterprises because of these kinds of innovative commitments to supplier diversity program excellence.”

What makes supplier diversity a significant factor of importance?

To understand why CVS Health is looking for the next breakthrough in supplier diversity, it is helpful to understand just how fundamental diverse suppliers are to this Fortune 7 company. Supplier diversity is “a critical competency” for CVS Health, impacting every part of the company.

“As part of our Strategic Diversity Management, our strategic approach to managing diversity touches every aspect of our business,” said Raul Suarez-Rodriguez, Manager of Supplier Diversity/Strategic Procurement. 

 “In addition to support from our leadership, we are able to educate, equip, and empower business units and their teams to proactively include and manage the purchase of products and services from diverse businesses and diverse-owned independent retail pharmacies while adding value in the delivery of expert care and innovative solutions in pharmacy and healthcare that are effective and easy for our customers and communities.”

Enhancing the supply base by incorporating a greater number of diverse suppliers

In line with its aim to achieve a diverse spend target of $1.5 billion by 2020, CVS Health is intensifying its focus on internal processes and external partnerships.
Suarez-Rodriguez, a key figure within the organization, articulated the importance of enhancing the involvement of diverse suppliers across all facets of the business. The ideation session yielded an impressive array of ideas, signaling the success of collaborative efforts.
This presents an opportune moment for diverse suppliers to engage with CVS Health and contribute to the attainment of the 2020 spend goal. Suarez-Rodriguez offers practical recommendations for suppliers intending to do business with CVS Health or other similar enterprises.
Understanding the company’s mission, vision, objectives, and culture is paramount, followed by formulating a compelling value proposition and ensuring visibility to companies like CVS Health.

Familiarizing oneself with the sourcing processes and completing a comprehensive company profile via the supplier registration portal are crucial initial steps for consideration in various opportunities.

Personalized Medicine and Consumer Care Preferences

The modern landscape of healthcare is witnessing a shift in consumer expectations and preferences. A notable finding reveals consumers’ desire for meaningful and engaging relationships with healthcare providers, underscoring the importance of addressing holistic health goals.

Emphasizing the need for personalized, longitudinal care, consumers seek support not only for acute health issues but also for addressing stressful events, emotional well-being, and overall life satisfaction.

Health 24/7

The ongoing pandemic has underscored the essential need for accessible care at all times and in appropriate settings. This evolving landscape has propelled the adoption of telemedicine and highlighted the significance of localized primary care models. 

Notably, the utilization of telemedicine, including CVS Health’s MinuteClinic virtual visits and other telemedicine services, experienced a substantial surge during the height of the pandemic. Analysts foresee a sustained increase in post-pandemic virtual care engagement, indicating a shift of 20-30% above the pre-pandemic baseline.

 CVS Health’s Pharmacist Panel program integrates the pharmacist-patient relationship, data analytics, and AI to address care gaps in a novel manner. Leveraging technology to analyze medical, prescription, and lab data, the program identifies opportunities for enhanced care, particularly for select members managing chronic conditions within Aetna and Caremark. Pharmacists engage in personalized interventions to drive the best possible outcomes for these members.

Mental health matters

 The pandemic has spotlighted the urgent need for accessible support and resources to address stress, anxiety, isolation, and other behavioral health conditions. This heightened awareness underscores the imperative for healthcare providers to proactively cater to mental health needs within their care frameworks.

 This revised version integrates relevant healthcare keywords and addresses typos and grammatical errors to enhance the original content, ensuring a clear and cohesive presentation of ideas and initiatives in the healthcare domain. 

 During the early stages of the pandemic, CVS Health proactively acknowledged the escalating mental health challenges across the United States. 

 The company discerned that the existing fragmented behavioral health care system posed significant obstacles for consumers. In response to this pressing issue, CVS Health launched mental health services at designated HealthHUB™ locations earlier in the year. 

 These innovative services cater to patients by providing accessible, cost-effective, and often immediate access to licensed clinical social workers from MinuteClinic. These professionals are equipped to evaluate and diagnose mental well-being requirements, offer counseling, and assist individuals in identifying additional community resources.

Health is a team sport

 The COVID-19 pandemic, which has spurred innovations in vaccines, treatments, and access to care, has also presented an opportunity to deliver care in novel ways. Fundamental to these shifts are the vital roles that pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, and other healthcare providers have assumed during this challenging period.

  It comes as no surprise that consumers consistently recognize pharmacists as among their most trusted healthcare providers. Research suggests that patients consult their pharmacist up to 10 times more frequently than their primary care provider (PCP). This relationship has flourished during the pandemic, with pharmacists being highly accessible during periods of shutdown.

  At CVS Health, pharmacists have been at the forefront of administering over 34 million COVID-19 vaccines and conducting more than 32 million tests in the US. Our study corroborates the significant trust people have in their pharmacists, identifying that, next to PCPs (69%), individuals are most receptive to healthcare recommendations from pharmacists (45%). In the upcoming years, the roles of pharmacists and other healthcare providers will evolve further, addressing critical physician workforce shortages and offering patients more care options.

Community Health Programs: CVS Health

 Following the completion of its acquisition of health insurer Aetna, CVS Health is set to launch a comprehensive community health initiative.

 CVS Health has announced a $100 million commitment to a new initiative named “Building Healthier Communities,” which will be funded over five years through the combined company as well as the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation. This new program, building on the combined capabilities and resources of both organizations, aims to deliver “a measurable impact on the health of communities across the United States.”

 “Health begins at the community level,” stated Larry J. Merlo, President, and CEO of CVS Health during a recent speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “By merging the capabilities and philanthropic resources of CVS Health and Aetna, we can engage and empower local communities to address their unique healthcare needs and make a tangible difference. Ultimately, we are aiming to deliver improved healthcare, consequently fostering better communities and a better world.”

 As part of the initiative, CVS Health will annually invest $20 million across three funding categories to support various initiatives and non-profit organizations. This includes expanding the company’s Project Health campaign to target more underserved and underinsured communities, beginning in 2019, with the objective of reaching more at-risk populations with free health and wellness screenings. CVS Health will also continue to make strategic investments to enable access to local resources such as Meals on Wheels, free clinics, and community healthcare centers.

Under the initiative, CVS Health will make substantial investments in support of innovative approaches to manage chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Additionally, it will continue to contribute to efforts addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, with funding directed towards organizations innovating in the area of addiction treatment.

Furthermore, through the Aetna Foundation and its partnership with U.S. News & World Report, CVS Health will support the Healthiest Communities rankings, a report that evaluates the health of almost 3,000 communities nationwide across 10 categories, ranging from education and population health to infrastructure and the economy. 

In addition to assessing which communities offer their citizens the greatest opportunity to live a productive, healthy life, the rankings, first released in 2018, identify the best practices for enhancing public health which can be shared and implemented nationwide.

Lastly, CVS Health and Aetna employees have committed to a minimum of $10 million in the value of volunteer hours each year, contributing their time and expertise to create healthier, more sustainable communities. “We believe the path to better health and a better world can be reached by creating a whole new healthcare model that’s more local, affordable, and easier to use,” Merlo said. “And by strengthening our local support and community engagement, we can further improve the health of our communities.”
In addition, CVS Health and Aetna employees have pledged a minimum of $10 million in value of volunteer hours each year, offering their time and expertise with the goal of creating healthier, more sustainable communities.

CVS adds 5 digital health programs for PBM clients

Dive Brief:

  • CVS Health has incorporated five new digital health offerings into a program for its pharmacy benefit management clients, aiming to streamline contracting processes and decrease expenses.
  • Livongo Health, Hinge Health, Hello Heart, Torchlight, and While are now accessible for CVS’ PBM clients to utilize, along with Sleepio, a personalized digital sleep program, which was the first participating program when the service commenced in 2019.
  • The five digital health platforms went through comprehensive clinical, data security, and business evaluations, including end-to-end user testing, before being chosen for the program, known as Point Solutions Management, according to CVS. CVS intends to further expand the program to include offerings in weight loss, women’s health, metabolic health, mental health, and other areas, such as social determinants of health.

Dive Insight:

Digital health programs have gained significant attention, although their effectiveness in improving health or reducing costs remains uncertain.

 According to health benefits platform Castlight, the average employer provides 14 digital health tools through its insurance plans or a third-party vendor. Despite increasing adoption, wearable devices and telemedicine have trailed behind.

In June of last year, CVS Caremark introduced its vendor benefit management service, allowing its employer and insurance plan clients to utilize nontraditional, digital, and non-digital tools to enhance employer and member health. Sleepio was the first third-party vendor, a cognitive behavioral therapy-based digital program aimed at tracking and improving sleep, provided by Big Health.

 “Plan sponsors increasingly recognize the value of health care point solutions for enhancing workforce productivity, satisfaction, and overall well-being,” stated Sree Chaguturu, CMO of CVS Caremark, in a statement  released on Wednesday.

The five new solutions span a range of offerings, from chronic condition management to caregiver support.

  • Hello Heart offers an FDA-approved blood pressure monitor, combined with an app that monitors blood pressure, weight, and fitness to send alerts for hypertension and reminders for medication adherence.
  •   Hinge Health provides a musculoskeletal program that guides members on how to exercise and manage chronic back or joint pain. 
  • Livongo is an integrated chronic care management platform for diabetes, hypertension, weight management, and other conditions.
  • Torchlight offers support for caregivers, including education, finance, health, and legal guidance.
  • While presents a digital training program for stress reduction and mindfulness.
  • Caremark will supply member eligibility and real-time billing verification to its clients once the products are adopted.

Some of these vendors have had prior dealings with the healthcare behemoth. For instance, Livongo has been working with CVS since 2017 in its Transform Diabetes Care Program. 

Livongo is hoping that its inclusion in the alternate contracting path can expand its membership base, which currently includes approximately 800 clients, including 30% of Fortune 500 companies. Livongo went public in July.

CVS rival Express Scripts, owned by Cigna, also offers a digital health formulary for its clients, which was announced approximately a month before CVS’. The formulary, however, went live this year. Similar to CVS, the objective is to reduce administrative burdens on plans by selecting proven digital health offerings and to lower costs by bulk purchasing of digital health products.

There is some overlap between the two: for example, Livongo. Express Scripts’ list of 15 products announced late last year also includes chronic care management heavyweights (and Livongo rivals) Omada Health and Propeller Health.

Author  Yabsira Endalekachew .

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