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Epic Systems Expands CVS Health Partnership to Lower Drug Costs

An initiative by Epic and CVS Health to improve prescribing and two new EHR solutions top recent developments in health IT.

Epic EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Epic and CVS Health recently announced an initiative to lower drug costs for patients and improve health outcomes by offering prescribers lower cost alternatives to expensive medications.

CVS will utilize Epic’s population health management platform Healthy Planet to gain insight into prescription dispensing patterns and medication adherence behaviors.

The collaboration will benefit clinical and prescription decision making for patients, physicians, pharmacists, and health insurers. The collaboration will leverage Epic’s real-time health data sharing and prior authorization capabilities to streamline patient access to medication. Additionally, the partnership will offer prescribers information about insurance formulatory status and inexpensive alternatives.

"This collaboration with Epic will enable us to continue to drive leading edge technology innovation beyond the pharmacy to the full health care system," said CVS Health CIO Stephen Gold. "Together, our two companies will also examine opportunities to streamline and improve data sharing and linkages across the health care system to enhance communication and connectivity among patients, their physicians, the pharmacy and health insurers."

As part of the collaboration, Epic and CVS will develop a comprehensive clinical database to improve medication counseling and optimize medication selection for CVS Health patients. Additionally, the two will develop a digital storefront to allow the purchase of over-the-counter medications in patient EHRs.

READ MORE: Epic Named Best EDIS Enterprise Vendor in Overall Satisfaction

"This new relationship will help us further expand how we work with Epic and providers on their EHR system to develop meaningful tools and programs that will ultimately help us take even better care of the patients we support,” said CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, MD.

Earlier this year, CVS chose Epic to streamline clinical processes involving patients with chronic conditions for CVS Specialty.  

"As the specialty pharmacy of choice for many payors and patients, we are focused on creating the most clinically advanced specialty pharmacy experience to help improve care and outcomes for our patients," CVS Specialty Executive Vice President Alan Lotvin, MD, in a public statement. "We are pleased to transition our care management programs onto the Epic platform, which will enable immediate information sharing with other health care providers across the patient's entire care team.

CVS has also used Epic’s technology to operate its MinuteClinic since 2015.

Allscripts integrates new API-enabled patient scheduling solution

READ MORE: Epic EHR Contributed to Major Operating Losses for Dana-Farber

Elsewhere in health IT, Allscripts recently integrated a patient-centered online scheduling software solution by health IT innovator Zocdoc into its own EHR clinical scheduling software.

The integration will enhance real-time appointment scheduling for patients through an API-enabled connection.

“At Zocdoc, we believe in creating open, interoperable technology that provides value for patients, providers, and the greater healthcare industry,” said Zocdoc Chief Legal Officer and Head of New Business and Government Affairs Joaquin Gamboa.

The integrated solution will also simplify scheduling for providers and improve patient satisfaction.

“From independent physicians to large health systems, all providers need EHRs that are complete, connected, and tailored to their needs,” said Allscripts General Manager of the Open Business Unit Tina Joros. 

READ MORE: Epic Share Everywhere Enables Worldwide Interoperability

Clinerion adds FHIR data model to its set of EHR format standards

Clinerion announced earlier this month that data integration with its Patient Recruitment System platform can now also process patient EHRs from hospitals using Fast Healthcare interoperability Resources (FHIR). 

The data informatics provider for patient recruitment in clinical trials will now allow all hospitals using FHIR to directly exchange health data with the Patient Recruitment System without the need for further implementation.

FHIR is the newest health data exchange standard supported by Clinerion’s system. The Patient Recruitment System is capable of accommodating different kinds of data models and standards, including more than ten models used in various hospital information systems worldwide.

The Patient Recruitment System is designed to process patient data at its network of partner hospitals for clinical trial patient search and identification, data generation for real-world evidence, and market access activities.

Patient data used by Clinerion are fully anonymized. However, Clinerion’s Anonymized Identification technology enables hospital staff to re-identify patient data for on-site clinical trials. Clinerion’s system involves an exchange, transform, load (ETL) process pushing anonymized patient data from the hospital’s EHR to a Patient Recruitment System server implemented inside the hospital’s infrastructure.

“Patient Recruitment System has always been interoperable with every available electronic health records system currently used – it has been an essential part of our offering,” says Clinerion Chief Technology Officer Andreas Walter. “The introduction of the FHIR standard to the Clinerion offering simply means we now have standardized processes in place to accommodate FHIR and can therefore react much more quickly than before.”

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