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Utilizing Technology and Data to Improve Care for Patients With Complex Needs

Laura Joszt
Patients with complex needs may need more complex solutions to manage their health issues. Innovations in technology and integration of data have made it possible to improve patient interactions with the pharmacy to better manage their diseases. The American Journal of Managed Care® recently spoke with Christine Sawicki, senior director, specialty product development and innovation, CVS Health, about the impact new technology can have on patient experience, health outcomes, and drug spending.
Patients with complex needs may need more complex solutions to manage their health issues. Innovations in technology and integration of data have made it possible to improve patient interactions with the pharmacy to better manage their diseases.

The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®) recently spoke with Christine Sawicki, senior director, specialty product development and innovation, CVS Health, about the impact new technology can have on patient experience, health outcomes, and drug spending.

On September 10, Sawicki will also discuss “Improving Patient Care Through Data and Devices” at the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute’s Specialty Rx Forum.

AJMC®: Has the introduction of connected consumer-facing devices helped improve patient adherence?
Sawicki: At CVS Specialty, we are using consumer-centric technology in a number of ways to help improve the specialty patient experience and enable more convenient, complete patient care. 

One way we are doing this is through our clinical secure messaging program to help put a nurse or pharmacist at the patient’s fingertips. This works via a proprietary, company-built tool loaded with therapy- and indication-specific clinical information. Patients opt in to receive personalized message alerts via their mobile phone with information about manageable symptoms, potential side effects, lab tests, and condition management. The messages are based on clinical trial data, the drug’s label, and feedback from other patients, and they are timed to reach the patient when they are most likely to experience a specific situation. The message also includes a link to enable the patient to ask a medication-related question.

Starting in 2016, we introduced this capability in a group of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia and saw both high engagement and improved medication adherence. We have since expanded to patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic conditions and have seen very promising results. 

Specifically, patients who receive the customized, secure clinical messages on topics including adherence, condition management, or side effect management are more likely to refill their prescription(s) and achieve significantly higher medication adherence than those who do not use the clinical secure messaging program. (Note: specific results here: https://cvshealth.com/thought-leadership/clinical-secure-messaging-helps-improve-medication-adherence.)

Currently, more than 80% of our patients have enrolled in secure messaging. 

In addition, we are also exploring the use of wearable technology like the Apple Watch in specialty condition management. 

AJMC®: How are providers and pharmacists handling the data coming at them from patient devices?
Sawicki: For our secure messaging program, the information from the patient is fed directly to a CVS Health clinician—either a pharmacist or a nurse—who can help provide information or support (depending on the nature of the patient query). In addition, notes from that interaction are also shared—via secured connection—with the patient’s provider to help ensure continuity of care and provide the patient’s doctor with information about interventions or any challenges with disease management in between their regular visits. 
 


 
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