Express Scripts to launch its first digital health formulary in 2020

Express Scripts, the largest independent manager of pharmacy benefits in the U.S., has announced it will add digital offerings to its health formulary next year.

Express Scripts, the largest independent manager of pharmacy benefits in the U.S., has announced it will add digital offerings to its health formulary next year.

Express Scripts is “going full steam ahead” with digital health, says Mark Bini, Express Script’s chief patient experience officer. It’s Express Script’s job to find the right digital health solutions for its clients and patients, and then to make sure patients use the solutions effectively, he adds.

"With the Express Scripts Digital Health Formulary, we've created more than just a list of approved programs or a vendor management process,” Bini says. “We built a foundation for the future of care and pharmacy that will deliver better access, affordability and health."

In 2020, Express Scripts will provide a data-backed digital health formulary to make it easier for consumers to connect with tools that work best for them, according to Bini.

“The formulary establishes a clear path for reimbursement for these digital solutions, so plans can more simply and affordably offer them to the people who can benefit the most,” he says. “Health plans will have a simplified way to evaluate apps and know that what they offer to their members has been vetted carefully.”

Express Scripts, which merged with Cigna last December, announced the development of its digital formulary last May and has been developing it through a four-stage review and selection protocol, Bini says. Express Scripts has selected 15 clinically validated programs from leading digital health developers to be included in the first digital formulary release, starting in January.

Express Scripts’ digital health formulary will include remote monitoring services and digital therapeutics for eight of the country’s most common chronic conditions, including diabetes, prediabetes, hypertension, asthma, pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety and insomnia, according to Bini.

As part of the new formulary, Express Scripts is adding SilverCloud Health’s evidenced-based digital mental health platform. The partnership will make the SilverCloud platform more widely available to people nationwide who are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress and sleep-related issues, the companies say.

Once the SilverCloud platform is in place, participating health plans and employers will be able to increase their members’ access to emerging mental health technologies, Express Scripts says.

SilverCloud's platform offers a library of more than 30 evidence-based, digital programs designed specifically to provide earlier and easier access to mental healthcare. The digital approaches complemented by highly qualified, mental health coaches, should serve to help eliminate some of the existing barriers to mental health, including lack of access and stigma challenges, SilverCloud says.

The addition of SilverCloud's digital mental health platform as part of the formulary is especially significant because mental and behavioral health is a major disease burden, with one in four adults affected by a diagnosable mental health condition, Bini says. Access to traditional forms of mental healthcare are not always available or involve long wait periods to get care.

Digital delivery of mental healthcare helps to significantly overcome these barriers.
SilverCloud's digital mental health platform has delivered treatment to more than 300,000 users to date, according to Ken Cahill, CEO of SilverCloud, which is being used by more than 250 organizations globally to meet their populations' mental health needs. The platform has been vetted through full randomized control trials and real-world data.