PHARMACY

PrescribeWellness acquires VoicePort’s pharmacy-related assets

BY David Salazar

Healthcare technology company PrescribeWellness is adding to its offerings with the acquisition of all of VoicePort’s pharmacy-related assets. VoicePort, based in Rochester, N.Y., offers intelligent, interactive voice response patient engagement solutions for pharmacies.

“This acquisition provides pharmacies with an end-to-end solution for patient encounters, clinical interventions, and workflow efficiencies,” said Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness. “As reimbursement models become more focused on value-based care and as consumers take greater control over healthcare decisions, these tools will empower pharmacies to be a core healthcare destination within their local community.”

PrescribeWellness said the acquisition would allow it to extend its combined offerings that will allow pharmacists, doctors and payers to connect with patients via voice, text email and mobile. The company said VoicePort’s tech would be used to capture inbound patient requests to make identifying clinical opportunities and documenting encounters easier, as well as simplifying the submission of electronic health records.

The company’s services include tools for collaborative practice agreement contracting, clinical guidelines support, billing support, HER connectivity and tools to improve Star Ratings, among others.

“As we prepare to join together these two entrepreneurial companies with strong corporate cultures that are deeply rooted in innovation and achievement, our focus remains on providing customers with substantial system value and the highest-quality solutions as we build a strong foundation for the future,” said Chris Mann, VoicePort President and CEO.

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PHARMACY

CVS Health’s Brennan talks connected health at HLTH

BY David Salazar

CVS Health chief medical officer Troyen Brennan took the stage at healthcare innovation event HLTH Tuesday in Las Vegas to discuss the company’s approach to patient health. He told attendees of the event how the company creates insights from data that it combines with community-based retail health care to offer patients a personalized experience that can impact outcome and cost.

“Chronic disease in America is growing and our ability to pay for it is shrinking,” said Brennan. “At CVS Health, our goal is to make care more accessible, affordable and convenient to help create a healthier population. Our unique enterprise-wide capabilities, including our vast physical retail footprint and digital and analytic capabilities, put us within reach of nearly every American, which allows us to help create a new standard for healthcare engagement.”

Brennan noted that roughly half of all healthcare spend is driven by 5% of the population, comprised mostly of patients with unmanaged chronic diseases. Additionally, more than 40% of hospital readmissions are preventable — which means that if they were prevented, Medicare could save more than $17 billion annually. He said that CVS Health is poised to offer a new “unique chassis for population health management” through use of telephonic case management in combination with patient data, medical intelligence and in=person visits to healthcare hubs in CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.

“We are looking to narrow the distance between patients in their everyday lives and the caregiving facility by leveraging digital data and making health care accessible in convenient community locations,” Brennan said.

CVS Health is planning to pilot retail-based population health management efforts focused on patients with the five most common chronic diseases, fragile patients and patients transitioning from the hospital to home. These interventions will be supported with innovation around improved health monitoring and patient data collection, enhanced outreach through digital tools and embedded connectivity with primary care providers to strengthen preventive care, Brennan said.

“Without true innovation, more people will simply be without health care in the future,” Brennan said. “At CVS Health, we share in the responsibility to create a healthier population and a better, more sustainable health care system, and our goal is to do this by removing unnecessary costs through high quality and coordinated care.”

Brennan highlighted how CVS Health is building out its digital capabilities around at-home biometric monitoring and telemedicine. Examples included connected glucometer that could help monitor blood sugar and alert a CVS Health provider if patients’ levels are too high. Telemedicine was touted as a way to fill the gap between in-person visits to CVS Pharmacy or a primary care provider. Brennan also pointed to MinuteClinic as a source for tests for patients with chronic conditions in between regular doctor visits.

“We can stay in touch with the primary care doctor and integrate with their care of the patient in a way that complements and doesn’t compete with the delivery of primary care in the medical home,” Brennan concluded. “We believe that by applying artificial-intelligence evaluated data with a human touch we will be able to provide a much better approach to population health management than has previously been available.”

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Diplomat headquarters
PHARMACY

Diplomat nears CEO decision amid solid Q1 results

BY David Salazar

Specialty pharmacy services company Diplomat has shared its first-quarter 2018 financial results. The company’s revenue hit a record high of $1.34 billion, thanks in part to the addition of its newly minted pharmacy benefit management segment, recently renamed CastiaRx, Diplomat said.

For the quarter, the Flint, Mich.-based company’s specialty segment brought in $1.15 billion, with the PBM segment bringing in $191 million. Diplomat’s specialty segment dispensed a total of 223,000 prescriptions — a 3,000-script increase over the prior period. The company’s gross margin was up to 8.2% from 7.9% in the previous period, with specialty segment margin at 8.1% and PBM segment margin at 9.2%. However, due to an $8.4 million increase in interest expenses from debt that financed its PBM acquisitions, the company posted a $500 million net loss of $500,000, with earnings per share dipping $0.01.

“Diplomat reached a new high mark this quarter in which the incredible team we’ve built executed on our plan and achieved record revenues,” Diplomat interim CEO Jeff Park said. “Our first quarter demonstrated strong performance in both our Specialty segment and our PBM segment – relaunched last week under its new brand, CastiaRx. Our PBM integration has progressed rapidly, and as our innovation, growth and profitability initiatives continue to gain momentum, we believe we can drive substantial market share gains over time and generate long-term value for all our stakeholders.”

Following Monday’s earnings announcement, Park on Tuesday voluntarily stepped down from his post as interim CEO, effective May 11, as Diplomat said it was entering the final stages of its search for CEO. With the company expected to name a CEO by the end of the week, CFO Atul Kavthekar will assume additional responsibilities until the new CEO’s appointment is effective. Park assumed the role in January following the retirement of co-founder Phil Hagerman.

“The board has been encouraged by the high-quality executives that we’ve met with throughout the search process, and we are now focused on an external candidate,” Diplomat chairman Ben Wolin said.

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