Reimagining diabetes treatment

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Managing diabetes can be complex. Achieving and maintaining one’s best health for this chronic condition, which causes higher than normal blood sugar levels, depends on a person’s ability to monitor symptoms, manage complicated medication regimens, control blood glucose and practice healthy behaviors.

“There are 50 different things — or maybe more — that a person with diabetes could be doing at any time to best manage their condition,” says Stella Wong, Senior Director for Product Development at CVS Health. “It's overwhelming.”
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In the U.S., more than 34 million people live with diabetes and deal with these challenges, according to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. And only about 23 percent of people with Diabetes have it under control, says Peter Simmons, RPh, Vice President of Chronic Care Optimization. “Given the array of solutions available, that's a shame. We feel like we can do better.”

To do that, CVS Health created a proactive, integrated and holistic plan that reimagines diabetes treatment for its members. The goal is to reduce the complexity of self-management and improve health outcomes for plan members with diabetes — while preventing its onset.

Available with Caremark and Aetna benefit plans, the Transform Diabetes Care program uses CVS Health data insights and analytics to create personalized care plans for individuals across five clinical areas. The plan can be communicated through local CVS pharmacists and HealthHUB® professionals, digitally and virtually. Members are provided myriad tools to support their personalized care plan.

Peter Simmons, Vice President of Chronic Care Optimization for CVS Health.
“We always seek to be consumer-centric, consider how to deliver care locally and make care as simple as possible for customers and patients,” says Peter Simon, CVS Health’s VP Chronic Care Optimization.

The data also allows CVS Health to identify gaps in care and respond to patient needs before they arise. This proactive approach sets it apart from most other treatment plans, says Kyle Smith, head of CVS Health Transformation Marketing. “I think that's the most compelling thing about the work that we're doing.”

The program also utilizes a Pharmacist Panel to help patients stick to their plans, says Pharmacy Services Market Support Coach Rebecca Rice. “Pharmacists continue the conversation with their patients about their health while building trust and rapport,” she says.

“We think about our purpose every day: how we can help people on their path to better health,” Simmons says. “We always seek to be consumer-centric, consider how to deliver care locally and make care as simple as possible for customers and patients, especially those managing chronic conditions such as diabetes.”

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Two communities find healthy solutions that work

Two communities find healthy solutions that work
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Welcome to Healthy Communities News — where we highlight communities that are finding innovative solutions to solve local health challenges. Our first episode features communities battling two common and persistent problems: food deserts and heart disease. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, the East End Pop Up Market gives residents easy access to fresh food for the first time in four decades. In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, church leaders are mixing faith with fitness to stem the tide of heart disease and diabetes in their congregations.


New market gives Bridgeport residents access to fresh food

As the economy struggles and poverty rises in Bridgeport, manufacturing jobs are not the only thing leaving town: Residents have had to go farther and farther to find fresh food. But a group of local businesspeople is looking to reverse that trend. They’re opening the new East End Pop-Up Market, which will offer not only fresh food, but also job training and wellness workshops. It’s a solution that can be a model for food deserts across the country.


Bridgeport market gives entrepreneurs a jump start

Small businesses can revitalize neighborhoods – so the Bridgeport OIC is lending a hand to local entrepreneurs. We talk to Jeff Nelson of Seeding Knowledge, a start-up that plants and maintains gardens and sells produce. He’s expanding his services to the East End Pop-Up Market, where he’ll offer not only fruits and vegetables, but cooking classes and gardening instruction.


Faith begets fitness in Mecklenburg County

Faith leaders, county health officials, the local health system and community groups have proven that it takes a village to address local health issues. The Village HeartBEAT program created a fitness challenge in local congregations. The goal? To help residents battling heart disease and diabetes. The program uses exercise, nutrition and community gardens to help raise the spirits and lower the weight of participants.

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The #1 killer of women: Shining a light on cardiovascular disease

The #1 killer of women: Shining a light on cardiovascular disease
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The number one killer of women is cardiovascular disease. This stark statistic is why the American Heart Association’s national “Go Red for Women” movement is so important. Healthy Communities News was on hand at their annual star-studded Red Dress Collection fashion show in New York City, where we got the opportunity to sit down with four heart disease and stroke survivors for a roundtable discussion. Hear their stories of recovery and hope — and why we need to talk about women’s heart health.


Taking a deep dive into heart health

You can be young, look and feel healthy and still be at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Surprised? Healthy Communities News spoke with Dr. Mosca, a volunteer medical expert with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, to get a better of understanding of women’s heart health. We also sat down with Jenny Petz and Nicole Murray, two of the inspiring heart disease and stroke survivors chosen for Go Red for Women’s 2020 class of Real Women to hear their powerful stories of survival and recovery.

Dr. Mosca, a volunteer medical expert with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement.
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Cutting hair and hypertension at Nashville barbershops

Cutting hair and hypertension at Nashville barbershops
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In Nashville, Tennessee, there’s a low-slung brick building nestled among fast food shops and a gas station on Clarksville Pike. It’s proudly painted red, white, and blue — a comfortable, well-worn spot that’s become a cultural hub for generations of African-American customers.

Barbershops are not just places to get a shave and a haircut. For African-American communities, they can also become havens for much-needed health care services. High rates of hypertension in this community are compounded by the fact that African-American men often aren’t receiving regular medical care.

To address this, a group of partners, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Nashville Health, and CVS Health, are placing pharmacists inside Nashville barbershops to test patrons for high blood pressure and recommend treatments.

Listen to this episode’s podcast for a deeper dive.

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Amidst a pandemic, consumers say they want accessible, affordable and technology-enabled health care, new CVS Health study finds

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Path to Better Health Study also reveals desire for digital health care solutions to support chronic care, mental health needs.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The American health care system is undergoing a period of rapid transformation. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed new challenges and opportunities to accelerate advances in health care delivery, solve for systemic health inequities, dramatically improve care outcomes, and better meet consumer expectations for convenience and affordability.

With a global pandemic as the backdrop, CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) fielded the 2020 Path to Better Health Study, where consumers and providers were asked for their thoughts on the state of health care and how they are navigating this evolving landscape. While certain attitudes may have evolved as a result of COVID-19, the study reveals that consumers need more accessible, personalized and technology-driven health care than ever before and are seeking simplicity in the way they engage in their own health.

The use of technology and data analytics in health care is reaching new heights, and the pandemic is accelerating the adoption of digitally based solutions. Consumers are eagerly embracing tech, especially when it comes to communicating with their providers. Forty-eight percent said they would be more likely to communicate with health care professionals if they were able to do so through digital messaging (up from 41% in 2019), via telehealth (32%, up from 19% in 2019) and through virtual office visits such as Skype or FaceTime (29%, up from 20% in 2019). Additionally, 40% of consumers said they would be very likely to receive care for mental and behavioral health virtually.

"The pandemic has forced countless Americans to rethink their approach to health and explore different avenues of care," notes Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health. "Whether in the community, in the home or in the palm of their hand, people are discovering new ways to conveniently and affordably address their health care needs, including mental and behavioral health. We expect these changes will transform the way care is delivered moving forward."

The need to manage chronic conditions and mental health concerns is clearly top of mind for many consumers. A significant number of people indicated that members of their households are struggling with high blood pressure (41%), obesity (35%), mental illness (28%) and diabetes (17%).

Addressing mental health concerns is also of growing importance, especially among those aged 18 34 and 35 50, where social isolation is a top concern. For example, 44% of those aged 18 to 34 and 45% of those aged 35 to 50 indicated they no longer have a desire to be social, while only 29% of those aged 51 to 64 said the same. This resembles the 2019 findings, in which 48% of those 18 to 34 and 45% of those 35 to 50 reported they did not have a desire to be social, versus 35% of people aged 51 to 64.

The desire for accessibility is pushing people to explore new avenues of care. While a majority (62%) of consumers still go to their primary care physician (PCP) to treat a minor illness or injury, nearly one-third (31%) are likely to visit a non-emergency walk-in clinic. This is up from 2019, in which 59% of consumers reported going to their PCP for a minor illness or injury, while 28% said they would visit a non-emergency walk-in clinic. Digital solutions such as telemedicine are also growing in popularity with both patients and providers.

Most consumers (92%) said it is very or somewhat important that health care be convenient a factor that has only become more critical as a result of COVID-19.

About one-third (35%) of people said health care costs are an obstacle to staying healthy, and close to half (49%) have not visited a doctor when they had a minor illness or injury due to cost. Despite cost emerging as a top barrier to care, it is not often a topic of discussion between patients and health care providers. Two-thirds of patients (66%) said their PCP and other health care providers had not asked about the "affordability" of health care and/or discussed resources to assist with these costs, up slightly from 64% in the 2019 Path to Better Health Study.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Health care providers are increasingly turning to digital tools and technologies to care for and connect with their patients. Telemedicine is of particular interest, with 40% of providers saying it is very valuable for communicating with patients, up from 22% in the 2019 study. The future outlook for incorporating predictive analytics or artificial intelligence into provider practices also looks strong, with more than one-third (39%) indicating they already have or are very or somewhat likely to integrate these technologies into their practices within the next several years.

  • Providers are expressing the need for additional support for important community resources, but access is improving. For example, many providers said they have fair or poor access to substance abuse counselors (56%) and mental health counselors (50%), down from 63% and 55% in our 2019 study, respectively.

  • Many providers are experiencing burnout symptoms. Three-fourths (75%) of all providers said they feel burned out very frequently, frequently or sometimes. About one-quarter (27%) said the main cause of burnout is time spent documenting care/electronic record systems, followed by administrative/management requirements/paperwork (25%).

Read the full study.

About the study

The Path to Better Health Study by CVS Health, first released in 2018 and called the Health Ambitions Study, was conducted in March 2020 and included two surveys fielded by Market Measurement, a national market research consulting firm. The consumer survey comprised 1,000 participants 18 and older, located throughout the U.S. It also oversampled 12 metropolitan statistical areas Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, San Francisco, Tampa and among two ethnic groups: African American and Hispanic people. The survey of 400 providers focused on primary care physicians and specialists with at least two years' experience, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings from HealthHUB locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Contacts

Kathleen Biesecker
bieseckerk@aetna.com
703-472-8466

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Path to Better Health Study 2020

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CVS Health’s 2020 Path to Better Health Study finds that consumers are seeking a more accessible, affordable and technology-enabled health care experience than ever before. 

The American health care system is undergoing a time of accelerated innovation and transformation. Consumer expectations for convenient and personalized health care support, coupled with the exploding use of technology and data analytics, are just several trends driving critical change. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has also provided an opportunity to further advance health care delivery and utilization to better meet the needs of our patients, our customers and our communities.

According to our 2020 Path to Better Health Study, now in its third year, consumers and providers are hungry for this care transformation and want health solutions that meet them where they are — in store, in home and in hand.

cvs heart

40%

of consumers said they would be very likely to receive care for mental and behavioral health virtually.

71%

of consumers indicated they were greatly concerned with treating chronic illness due to cost. 

81%

of providers reported that they always, often or sometimes recommend that their patients establish health goals during routine office visits.

Importance of accessibility and affordability

Delivering accessible, high-quality care at any time is a key health care priority — and has become even more significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to our study, consumers agree, with 92% indicating that it was very or somewhat important that health care be convenient. 

We found that people’s desire for accessibility is pushing them to explore new avenues of care. While a majority of consumers still go to their primary care physician (PCP) to treat a minor illness or injury, nearly one-third of consumers are likely to visit a non-emergency walk-in clinic.

Consumers are receiving routine support for minor illnesses or injuries at several sites of care: 62% report visiting their primary care physician; 31% report using emergency walk-in clinics; 18% report visiting a hospital emergency room; and 15% report visiting community health clinics.

“Consumers are demanding convenience and ease in how they access health services. Technological solutions have the power to simplify health care and significantly expand the ways we deliver it,” said Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health, adding that COVID-19 has provided an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate transformation and drive lasting and systemic change in the American health care system. “Our growing local presence and expansion of virtual care, telemedicine, and other omnichannel programs will be critical to meeting the health needs of our members and customers, both during and after the pandemic.” 

Affordability is also top-of-mind for consumers. About one-third (35%) of people said health care costs are an obstacle to staying healthy, while close to half (49%) have not visited a doctor when they had a minor illness or injury due to cost, suggesting that consumers could use additional support in this area.


Increasing appetite for technology-enabled care

The use of technology across the health care continuum has been rising at a rapid rate. As a result of COVID-19, the pace of technological transformation will only quicken and greatly influence the future of care delivery. 

Our study shows that people want to use technology to enhance communication with their health care providers, by adopting tools like digital messaging, telemedicine and virtual office visits. Among providers, their use of digital technologies to care for and connect with patients is also expanding. Telehealth is of particular interest, with 40% of providers saying it is very valuable for communicating with patients, up from 22% in our 2019 study.

The use of digital tools to facilitate communication between patients and providers is on the rise. Digital messaging among consumers is up 7% from 2019 with an overall usage of 48%. Among providers, digital messaging is down 2% from 2019 but overall usage is at 36%. Telehealth services, have shown a 14% increases among consumers, with a 32% overall usage rate. Among providers, usage of telehealth services increased 18% with a 40% usage overall.

Our Path to Better Health Study also found that:

  • Mental health is of critical concern for consumers, especially among those aged 18 to 34 and 35 to 50, with the issue of social isolation being a top concern.
  • Consumers, as well as their friends, family and other household members, are struggling with chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, mental illness and diabetes. 
  • Health care providers still need more support in accessing important community-based resources, such as nutritionists and social workers, but this access is improving. 
  • Many providers are experiencing burnout symptoms at least some of the time. 
  • Awareness of and involvement in value-based care models is growing.
A woman sits at a dining room table eating a salad and a piece of bread while quietly smiling and reading a tablet computer.

Methodology 

The Path to Better Health Study by CVS Health, first released in 2018 and called the Health Ambitions Study, was conducted in March 2020 and included two surveys fielded by Market Measurement, a national market research consulting firm. The consumer survey comprised 1,000 participants 18 and older, located throughout the U.S. It also oversampled 12 metropolitan statistical areas — Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, San Francisco, Tampa and among two ethnic groups: African Americans and Hispanics. The survey of 400 providers focused on primary care physicians and specialists with at least two years’ experience, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists.

A woman in gray athletic clothes stretches and practices yoga poses in a very light and bright room. The photo is set inside of a CVS Health® heart on a red background.
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Expanding precision oncology care

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Tech entrepreneurs talk as much about working “on their business” as working “in their business” — another way of saying that innovating is as important as working on the day-in and day-out needs for a business to succeed. While the daily demands of patient care take a majority of their focus, oncologists, like smart tech executives, see technological advances and innovative oncology therapeutics as essential to improving the patient journey.

Today’s health care environment includes expanding the use of precision medicine, genomics, and technology, as well as increasing access to appropriate treatments to help improve patient experiences and outcomes. 

Precision medicine and the role of genomics

The late Clayton Christensen, renowned author and Harvard Business School professor who wrote at length on “disruptive innovation,” noted that precision medicine could aid in driving down health care costs without compromising quality or outcomes. Oncology evidence-based guidelines have been shown to improve treatment, outcomes, and costs by quickly starting patients on the most effective treatment, often with fewer side effects and less treatment time.https://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JOP.17.00091

CVS Health’s Divisional Head of Enterprise Oncology Dr. Roger Brito describes the company’s precision approach that employs disruptive innovation: “The critical period between diagnosis and starting on therapy is an incredibly stressful and scary time for a patient. The ideal situation is to formulate the optimum treatment plan and get the patient started on the appropriate therapy as soon as possible.” 

Still, with approximately 700 updates in 24 months across 59 different National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) treatment and supportive care regimens, and a 63 percent expansion in oncology drugs in development in the last decade (IMS Health, R&D Focus, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, May 2016.), applying the most current therapies in daily practice is difficult for many oncologists.

“Keeping up with all of the changes in treatment, like the rapidly expanding oncology drug pipeline and evolving clinical guidelines for cancer treatment, can be very challenging for oncologists. 60% of community oncologists regularly use cancer pathwaysHigh-quality oncology clinical pathways are detailed, evidence-based treatment protocols for delivering cancer care to patients with specific disease types and stages. When properly designed and implemented, oncology pathways can serve as an important tool in improving care quality and reducing costs. https://www.asco.org/practice-policy/cancer-care-initiatives, so there is an opportunity to better support them in delivering the latest in cancer care,” says Brito.

On top of that, consider the exciting opportunity to enhance precision medicine with the latest genomics science and technology. “Identifying the genomic landscape of an individual patient’s tumor enables oncologists to treat the root cause specifically and more effectively,” says CVS Health’s Transformation Vice President for Complex Chronic Disease Anne Claussen.

CVS Health’s analysis suggests that broad-panel genomic sequencing may result in cost savings, and a pilot is underway that will explore this in depth.

With little debate over the efficacy of genomic testing, many wonder why 60 percent of advanced cancer care patients receive no genetic testing.https://www.foundationmedicine.com/blog/uncovering-insights-in-pancreatic-and-prostate-cancers “There are currently 125 approved cancer drugs and 86% of those in late-stage development that require genetic testing, yet few eligible patients receive a companion lab test. And even when advanced testing is administered, patients often receive the less comprehensive single gene mutation test, which does not provide a patient’s complete genetic profile,” says Claussen.

Testing a patient’s tumor, looking at DNA and RNA sequencing, and pairing that data with a patient’s health information is complicated and requires expertise in pharmacogenomics to interpret. Further, oncologists also need experience and training with such data to explain results to their patients. Here again, time is critically important to get the patient on the appropriate therapy as soon as possible.

Using technology to speed and expand support

CVS Health is building on its experience and bringing together capabilities across our health plan and pharmacy businesses to make precision medicine and genomics more accessible while easing adoption for oncologists with our Transform Oncology Care program.

Claussen stated, “We are proactively partnering with oncologists to develop and enhance our oncology care solutions by facilitating frequent, two-way feedback and providing reporting that highlights opportunities and gaps to improve health outcomes.”

CVS Health is helping oncologists employ broad-panel gene sequencing tests with the latest NCCN treatment and supportive care guidelines that help in the selection of the most precise and appropriate treatment regimen based on the patient’s clinical and genetic profile. Additionally, providers are notified of applicable clinical trials that their patients may qualify to participate in. “Here is where we see the power of precision medicine and evidence-based tools such as our Transform Oncology Care program, which allows providers to request an authorization online and receive approval within minutes. Patient anxiety is eased because they will get their treatment in a timely manner, and the provider’s process flow is streamlined, resulting in a much better patient experience,” explains Dr. Brito.

Transform Oncology Care strives to provide targeted strategies for every step of the cancer care journey.

Read the infographic.

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Keeping connections in a distanced world to transform chronic care

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By Jonathan Mayhew, Executive Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer, CVS Health

Four months ago, chronic care was one of the nation’s biggest health challenges, affecting more than half of all American adults and driving 90 percent of health care spending according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four months ago, new tools for helping people better manage and even prevent chronic conditions were expanding our ability to reach people early and often, connecting them with our local care teams, local community resources and virtual capabilities to support everyday decisions between regular doctors’ visits. Whether individuals chose to seek support at home, at work, in the pharmacy, online, or through a combination of all these options – these increased connections and intervention in chronic care would help prevent emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, improve health outcomes and lower costs.

Today, I still believe increased support and connections are key to fighting chronic disease, which is still a top health care challenge. But our world is different in many ways than it was four months ago. We are managing and looking to recover from a grueling pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted minority and underserved populations. Many people with chronic conditions have already delayed care due to fear of contracting COVID-19 in a health care setting.  In the months ahead, stopping in at your local pharmacy or visiting a doctor may not sound as appealing as it once did. For some, it will be non-starter.

At CVS Health, we understand that. Still, it is critical for those suffering or at risk of chronic conditions to continue regular care. And our approach to helping individuals with chronic conditions, which includes innovative touchpoints and groundbreaking data analysis, reflects the evolving needs of our customers, including a new reality shaped by the pandemic.

Combining physical, digital and virtual for more support options

Our past and real-time experience tells us that, particularly during stressful times, individuals at home need expanded options for accessing support for everyday decisions related to diet and exercise as well as medical and behavioral health care. While we will continue to expand our brick-and-mortar HealthHUB® locations to provide in-person health and wellness care, pharmacy services and retail goods, we also are accelerating and expanding our digital presence and integrating new virtual capabilities into our care management programs.

Recently, we have expanded the ways customers can engage with a CVS pharmacist, MinuteClinic® clinicians, or HealthHUB concierges (where available) to receive services. So, while an individual may not travel to see her pharmacist – she can still speak live over the phone or engage through an app and, afterward, have her medications delivered to her home. Additionally, through expanding telehealth capabilities, many individuals can access doctors to address medical and behavioral health concerns. No matter their preference, individuals have an array of options to stay connected.

Within our care management and condition management programs, we are making sure that, in addition to traditional telephone support, care managers can provide support using telehealth services and, when it is deemed safe to do so, still visit with individuals in their homes.  

Data is the game changer

Data will make these options even more effective. In the past, when the topic of data and analytics was raised related to care or condition management, it typically meant relying on claims data exclusively. Today, CVS Health is not only able to bring together a broader set of data from prescription claims and medical claims, but we also combine that data with lab results, electronic health record data and information from medical devices and wearables where permitted. As we’ve seen in Korea and multiple other countries, along with some efforts in the U.S. to track COVID-19, this approach provides a much more comprehensive understanding of what is happening with an individual and within a community. And because we are able to aggregate and analyze this data in real time, the insights we can generate for care managers, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and doctors (as part of referrals and ongoing care coordination) are actionable and make health care simpler for individuals. This kind of data fuels our Pharmacist Panel program which notifies our pharmacists of potential gaps in care or preventive care opportunities based on medical, pharmacy and lab data. This expanded view makes it even easier for pharmacists to proactively engage members in relevant, impactful and timely one-on-one conversations about how best to manage their chronic conditions. And this outreach is delivered through member-preferred channels like text, email or telephone.

Moving to a comprehensive approach to condition management

Unmatched data and multiple connection capabilities allow CVS Health to break away from the one-size-fits-all approach to chronic condition management. For example, most diabetes management programs today focus on just two modes of support -- monitoring blood glucose and managing issues of lifestyle and comorbidities – mostly through virtual reporting and telephone coaching.

Our comprehensive approach to diabetes care for Aetna members and CVS Caremark customers focuses on three additional areas for a total of five impact areas. In addition to monitoring blood glucose and managing lifestyle issues, we aim to ensure individuals also are receiving the recommended annual health screenings, adhering to medications and taking the right medications to manage their diabetes and any other conditions. Whether an individual is seen by a CVS pharmacist, a care manager, or MinuteClinic nurse practitioner online or in person, each will have an integrated view of the individual’s health needs in these five clinical impact areas. They will all be on the same page regarding medications, test results and care plans. This not only leads to more effective management of diabetes and other chronic conditions but also reduces the frustration patients often experience when care is disconnected and uncoordinated.

Taken together, improved interactions and data-fueled insights paint a picture of complete end-to-end condition management with many options for engagement and support. That is what is needed to improve our standard of care for diabetes and other chronic conditions. With integrated care teams, digital and virtual solutions and data technologies, we can stay connected to more people, on their terms and comfort levels, and help them to more successfully manage their chronic health conditions today and well into the future.

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New research at ASCO 2020 reinforces the value of CVS Health offerings

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Identifying unaddressed challenges to better ensure quality, cost and access

We believe that in order to improve the health care quadruple aim — better quality, lower cost, and improvements in both patient and provider experience — the important first step is identifying the unaddressed challenges. This helps build a framework for developing strategies and solutions that address the areas of need. While treatments themselves are incredibly important, research that helps identify such gaps is critical, because it enables us to ensure clinically appropriate access and services to improve health outcomes for patients, and to develop comprehensive solutions that help payors manage costs.

Each year, the oncology community comes together at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting to unveil the latest research in cancer care. While the meeting is most known for debuting breaking advancements in cancer treatments, the data presented goes far beyond. At this year’s meeting, we will be presenting data reinforcing the importance of innovative specialty management in cancer care. Here, we share some of the highlights:

Digital engagement helps support patient adherence

It is not uncommon for a patient on specialty medications — especially when they first begin treatment — to experience unpleasant side-effects. Treatment non-adherence as a result of that is all too common, and an ongoing challenge for patients and health care providers. Secure messaging has been shown to improve medication adherence in patients. In one abstract presented at ASCO, we examine how digital engagement in the form of secure two-way messaging from a nurse helped improve patient adherence to an oral chemotherapy known for significant adverse side-effects. Our research found that using CVS Specialty’s secure messaging platform to determine whether patients were experiencing common medication side effects enabled nurses to get involved quickly, leading to an improvement in patients’ symptoms and adherence to therapy. Secure two-way messaging is one of the digital and online engagement tools CVS Specialty uses to help patients better manage their conditions.

Precision treatment: Better outcomes, more cost-effective care

Unfortunately, lung cancer patients are frequently diagnosed late with advanced or metastatic disease. However, it’s been shown that targeted therapies can increase survival when compared to conventional treatments. Broad gene sequencing tests help support use of targeted therapies by identifying the best treatment for a specific patient. A CVS Health analysis found that by identifying the broader genomic landscape of a patient’s tumor early on, doctors armed with this information make timely and precise treatment decisions, which ultimately can lead to better outcomes and are more cost effective. The findings are an example of the types of analytics CVS Health is evaluating consistently to inform programs focused on transforming the oncology experience for patients and their support teams.

The challenge to increasing biosimilar prescribing

Biosimilars are the fastest-growing class of therapeutic products in the United States. Despite the availability and proven efficacy and safety of biosimilars, their uptake has been slow. This is, in part, due to patent litigation and pay-for-delay strategies by brand manufacturers that often delay the launch of many of these products, even after they’ve been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As part of the research we are presenting, we surveyed oncologists to evaluate their willingness to prescribe biosimilars. While those surveyed deemed biosimilars to be safe and effective, physicians reported there were still certain factors that affected their willingness to prescribe. Given the potential of biosimilars to create competition and therefore lower cost, we continually monitor the pipeline to optimize the use of lower cost therapies and expand our value-based provider contracts in order to help improve patient access. 

Data can improve patient care journey, payor and provider tools

We will also be presenting data from Novologix, CVS Health’s proprietary technology platform, which demonstrated that by engaging oncology practices through an enhanced payor-provider partnership and training providers on the prior authorization tool, we can help facilitate higher-quality oncology care. As part of another study, we surveyed patients on their cancer treatment history and care experience, as well as how they worked with their health care providers. We also surveyed health care providers for information on their practice, their referral process for their patients to an oncologist, and how they engage with their patients. There were two key findings. First, there is a compelling opportunity to develop a data-driven oncologist selection tool that helps primary care providers direct their patients to high-quality and low-cost oncologists. Second, it is important for providers to initiate the conversation around an advanced directive at the start of a patient’s cancer care in order to help those close to the patient fully understand their desires for end-of-life care.

This research is part of our ongoing focus on helping transform the health care experience for all patients while addressing challenges of oncology management for payors.

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CVS Health launches ‘Transform Health 2030’ corporate social responsibility strategy with its 13th annual CSR report

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today launched its 13th annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report and unveiled Transform Health 2030, the company’s new CSR roadmap for the next decade. The report lays the groundwork for how the company will transform health in four priority areas: Healthy People, Healthy Business, Healthy Community and Healthy Planet. It outlines the ways CVS Health is simplifying the health care system, supporting the personal and professional development of colleagues, investing in community health at the local level and setting bold goals to reduce environmental impact.

“Our corporate social responsibility strategy, Transform Health 2030, reflects our commitment to bringing transformative change to health care access and delivery, while meeting and exceeding the needs of our patients, members, customers, clients, colleagues, supply chain and environment,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy and Chief Sustainability Officer for CVS Health.

This year’s report is the first that includes data of the newly combined enterprise following CVS Health’s combination with Aetna. The Transform Health 2030 roadmap was developed based on outcomes of the company’s comprehensive materiality assessment, conducted in 2019.

Each pillar of the Transform Health 2030 strategy leverages the assets, scale and expertise of CVS Health to create impact. These pillars and associated accomplishments covered in the 2019 CSR report include:

Healthy Peopledelivering on CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health across all its touchpoints:

  • Launched more than 50 HealthHUB® locations by the end of 2019, offering a variety of services to help improve health outcomes and transform the consumer health experience at the local level, including managing chronic conditions, supporting nutritional health and providing community wellness spaces.

  • MinuteClinic became the first retail healthcare organization to receive the Pathways to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

  • Expanded CarePass nationally, bringing simplified value to our customers while making it easier for them to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Healthy Businessfostering a business that creates value for CVS Health’s colleagues, shareholders, partners and supply chain:

  • Generated $5.6 billion in economic impact and created 35,000 jobs for minority and women-owned businesses through a best-in-class supplier diversity program.

  • Released Commitment to Responsible Marketing Practices, which demonstrates the company’s beliefs and aligns to its business strategy. The Commitment is brought to life through the CVS Beauty Mark, a watermark that signifies imagery advertising beauty and personal care products has not been digitally altered.

Healthy Communitydelivering significant social impact to support the health of communities across the U.S. and improve health outcomes in the communities CVS Health serves:

  • Helped address social determinants of health by delivering $6.4 million in free health care services to 70,000 participants through Project Health in 2019 and investing a total of $50 million in affordable housing.

  • Announced a new, three-year $10 million collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide care and support services for patients, families and caregivers while advancing research toward prevention and a cure.

  • Continued to invest in building the first tobacco-free generation, with CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations awarding more than $16 million in grants to organizations that provide tobacco-free programming for youth, educators and clinicians.

Healthy Planetrecognizing that the health of the environment is inextricably linked to human health, CVS Health is committed to doing its part as a health care leader:

  • Earned a place on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the first time and named to DJSI North America for the seventh time, recognizing CVS Health’s sustainability leadership. The company was also recognized by the global environmental non-profit CDP, earning a place on the CDP A List and recognition as a CDP Supplier Engagement Leader.

  • Removed oxybenzone and octinoxate from all store brand sunscreens in advance of laws banning these chemicals in Hawaii and Key West, Fla.

  • Removed BPS from CVS Pharmacy customer receipts to increase their recyclability, while enrolling 1.1 million customers in digital receipts in 2019 for a savings of 48 million yards of receipt paper.

CVS Health’s 2019 CSR report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards, a global framework widely used by organizations to report on CSR and sustainability performance, and is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report is available online at cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We’re evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings — from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions — are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we’re transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Erin Britt
401-770-9237
erin.britt@cvshealth.com

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