Helping Safeguard Employee Health — While Home

Helping Members Cope with Health Challenges During the Pandemic
COMMENTARY
August 11, 2020
Senior Vice President, CVS Health and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it for everyone. With stay-at-home orders, social distancing rules, and closures of workplaces, schools and other institutions has come isolation, economic hardship, and physical and mental health challenges of coping with it all.

Pictogram of a mobile phone At a time when consumers may not be able to follow their normal health routines, digital solutions can supplement traditional care and help close gaps in care.

Taking care of ourselves — both physically and mentally — is more vital than ever. And yet, the fallout from the pandemic has made that hard to do safely and conveniently. Elective procedures and non-urgent care have seen somewhat of a rebound since the pandemic first began but they have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, and the increase in activity does not compensate for the care consumers forewent during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people may also have cost concerns. At a time when consumers cannot follow their normal health routines and may be forgoing regular care and visits to their health care providers because of safety concerns, digital solutions can supplement traditional care and help close gaps in care.

These tools aid in improving patient health by bringing together novel and interactive engagement models with existing and proven care pathways. Plan sponsors should actively consider offering these options to plan members as a key part of their total health and well-being package.

Tools that focus on creating a seamless experience for patients and providers will be the most effective in helping increase engagement. Digital solutions that are easy to use and provide clear feedback on whether and how the user's health is improving, will generally see the greatest use, which is key to enabling better outcomes.

Solutions that have been most successful at meeting desired goals or outcomes effectively utilize pathways that already exist in regular care settings. Adoption is easier — and therefore likely to be higher — if a tool can take a previously proven model of care and digitize it to be consistent with the experience of an in-person visit to a provider’s office. By doing so, they can play a complementary role in areas where continuity of care, or simply a more accessible form of support, is needed. More importantly, we can measure impact in the same way we would for traditional care.

Pictogram of a hand cradling a heart Digital tools can help keep people adherent by providing care for chronic conditions and mental health support in a private setting in an engaging way.

One area where digital solutions can truly make a positive impact, especially in the current reality of the “new normal”, is ongoing management of — and self-care for — chronic conditions. These tools can offer patients support they can access anywhere, any time – digitally – by applying insights learned from traditional care management programs. Mental health is another area where such solutions can play a key role by expanding access and reducing barriers such as the stigma of visiting a provider in-person.

In both areas, digital tools can not only complement but even increase the impact of a health care provider, and help keep people adherent by providing care in a private setting in an engaging way.

Simplified Administration for Best-in-Class Point Solutions

While point solutions can offer a convenient way to bridge potential gaps in care, selecting the right solutions and managing the administration can be complex and time consuming for plan sponsors. Point Solutions Management from CVS Health can help simplify the selection and management of third-party offerings so that payors can offer their members cost-effective, innovative solutions that supplement traditional benefits as a way to support self-care in the “new normal.”

This program offers clients a range of solutions that have been carefully vetted through a rigorous clinical review process. Vendors are also contractually obligated to offer their most competitive pricing through CVS Health. The list of solutions included in the program is based on areas of need as identified by a representative set of clients. Solutions are then curated to identify where they can have the greatest impact on health and well-being.

The tools offered through Point Solutions Management include several that help members better manage metabolic, mental, and cardiovascular health.

Heart Health

Hello Heart helps members understand and improve their heart health. It offers an FDA-approved blood pressure monitor coupled with an app that tracks blood pressure readings, weight and physical activity, alerts for out-of-range hypertension, and has patient-enabled medication adherence reminders. This can simplify and streamline self-care and ensure healthier outcomes at a time when members may not be accessing routine care. Data from Hello Heart book of business shows that, 79 percent of weekly users are now using the solutions two to four times more often since the quarantine started with 42 percent of users doubling their sessions, and 23 percent have tripled their sessions.*Data includes Hello Heart Book of Business users who had low engagement (<1 session per week on average) from 1/1/20 - 3/14/20. This data was then compared against the user’s usage from 3/15/20–4/15/20.

Weight Management

In addition, we recently added several healthy weight management options including Naturally Slim, Vida and Weight Watchers. Kurbo by WW aims to teach children and teens ages 8–17 how to make healthier choices and lifestyle changes through weekly video coaching, in-app chat, messaging, games, and educational videos.

Musculoskeletal Health

With members staying home and not being able to pursue their normal physical health routines, many may be experiencing an increase in musculoskeletal conditions such as chronic back or joint pain. Hinge Health combines wearable sensor-guided exercise therapy with behavioral change through one-on-one health coaching and education to help reduce chronic pain, opioid use, and surgeries. Engagement among Hinge Health users increased 20 percent from March to April.*Hinge Health Book of Business, March 2020.

Mental Health Support

As we all deal with the anxiety and stress wrought by the pandemic and its social and economic impacts, Sleepio, Whil, and newly added Daylight can help members better manage mental health. Daylight is a fully automated, highly personalized mobile app to tackle worry and anxiousness, based on cognitive behavioral techniques. Sleepio uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients dealing with poor sleep, and is meant to assist patients in changing unhelpful behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies that target specific problems. Whil is a digital training platform for mindfulness, stress resilience, mental well-being, and performance. It offers 5-minute daily sessions and more than 250 mini-courses.

Want to learn more about how best-in-class digital tools offered through Point Solutions Management can help improve member outcomes during the pandemic? Ask Us
COMMENTARY
August 11, 2020
Senior Vice President, CVS Health and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark

*Data reflects vendor book of business, not CVS Caremark clients.

Data source, unless noted otherwise, CVS Health Enterprise Analytics, 2020.

CVS Health uses and shares data as allowed by applicable law, and by our agreements and our information firewall.

Image source: Licensed from Getty Images, 2020.