Com­pe­ti­tion heats up for pa­tient-gen­er­ated health data

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Beth Kutscher

The num­ber of tools to track pa­tient health data has ex­ploded in re­cent years, and the race to ac­cess that in­for­ma­tion is heat­ing up.

The Wal­greens phar­macy chain last week launched its Wal­greens Con­nect app, which al­lows par­tic­i­pants in its Bal­ance Re­wards pro­gram to get 20 points each time they take their blood pres­sure or test their blood sugar with a branded mon­i­tor they can pur­chase in-store.

The move is one prong of Wal­greens’ larger dig­i­tal and tele­health strat­egy, which also in­cludes offering telemedicine ser­vices through its part­ner­ship with MDLive. The phar­macy gi­ant re­cently ex­panded that re­la­tion­ship into 20 ad­di­tional states, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber to 25. It also has a part­ner­ship with We­bMD to of­fer vir­tual well­ness coach­ing ses­sions.

“It’s the care ex­pe­ri­ence that con­sumers will ex­pect in the fu­ture,” said Adam Pel­le­grini, Wal­greens’ divi­sional vice pres­i­dent of dig­i­tal health. “We see an un­met need from our con­sumer base to have care de­liv­ered any­where.”

Data col­lected through the Wal­greens Con­nect app is stored in the cloud through a part­ner­ship with Qual­comm. Bal­ance Re­wards points can be redeemed for money off store pur­chases.

“We know that if you re­ward small, sim­ple be­hav­iors, you can in­crease ad­her­ence to the clin­i­cal pro­to­col,” Pel­le­grini said.

Soft­ware de­vel­op­ers are making it eas­ier to gather and use pa­tient in­for­ma­tion. Com­pa­nies like Well­tok and Va­lidic have built a busi­ness model of cre­at­ing a sin­gle en­try point for providers, in­sur­ers and em­ploy­ers to ac­cess a wealth of pa­tient data from sources rang­ing from Fit­Bit to dLife.

Other in­no­va­tors are try­ing to ad­dress the sheer vol­ume of data so providers don’t be­come over­whelmed by it. Stage 3 of the mean­ing­ful-use rules also en­cour­ages the use of pa­tient-gen­er­ated data in elec­tronic health records.

Achiev­ing mean­ing­ful use will be a com­po­nent of physi­cians’ com­pen­sa­tion un­der the Medi­care Ac­cess and CHIP Reau­tho­riza­tion Act of 2015, which Congress passed ear­lier this year to re­place the sus­tain­able growthrate for­mula.

Other tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies are also work­ing to give providers, and pa­tients, a leg up.

IBM Watson in Septem­ber launched

the Watson Care Man­ager, which can col­lect data from wear­able and re­mote mon­i­tor­ing de­vices and iden­tify which pa­tients might need early in­ter­ven­tion.

“Data is the new money,” said Harry Wang, di­rec­tor of health and mo­bile prod­uct re­search at Parks As­so­ciates, a con­sult­ing firm.

“The health­care in­dus­try is re­sid­ing in si­los, and the data also re­sides in si­los. There’s a huge op­por­tu­nity to har­mo­nize data sources,” Wang said.

The com­pe­ti­tion is com­ing not only from providers and in­sur­ers, which have in­cen­tives to keep pa­tients healthy un­der value-based pay­ment mod­els, but also phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and med­i­cal-de­vice com­pa­nies that need to demon­strate com­par­a­tive ef­fec­tive­ness through the real-world use of their prod­ucts, Wang said.

Teva Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal In­dus­tries in Septem­ber ac­quired Gecko Health In­no­va­tions, which makes the CareTRx pro­gram.

The tool con­sists of a hard­ware de­vice that at­taches to an asthma in­haler and a soft­ware pro­gram that stores data.

The tool will im­prove pa­tient ad­her­ence and com­pli­ance, the res­pi­ra­tory ther­apy de­vel­oper said in an­nounc­ing the deal.

Phar­ma­cies such as Wal­greens, mean­while, are a reg­u­lar point of con­tact for pa­tients with chronic con­di­tions, Wang noted. That po­si­tion is valu­able not only for re­tain­ing cus­tomers but in forg­ing part­ner­ships with other health­care play­ers.

“They are a bridge be­tween the health sys­tems and con­sumers’ ev­ery­day life,” he said. “They be­come the go-to des­ti­na­tion for con­sumers, and they can be a one-stop des­ti­na­tion for their part­ners.”

Wal­greens isn’t cur­rently part­ner­ing with any health­care sys­tems to share the data but could do so in the fu­ture, Pel­le­grini said.

“Right now, we’re stick­ing to self­man­age­ment,” he added. “We are look­ing in the fu­ture to con­nect­ing with providers, but it has to be done in a thought­ful way.”

While mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers are com­pet­ing for pa­tient data, the ques­tion re­mains whether con­sumers will be will­ing to share that in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially with their in­sur­ance com­pa­nies or em­ploy­ers.

Only 5% of peo­ple are ac­tu­ally us­ing de­vices that can share their health in­for­ma­tion, Wang said.

Not only are th­ese prod­ucts ex­pen­sive, but con­sumers are skep­ti­cal about who will have ac­cess to their data and whether it could be used to pe­nal­ize them, he added.

The Wal­greens Con­nect app al­lows

cus­tomers to earn points when us­ing a

branded mon­i­tor to take their blood

pres­sure or test their blood sugar.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.