CVS Health and Epic are working on a strategic initiative intended to help clinicians to see more options for prescribing drugs for patients that are less expensive and offer better opportunities for improved outcomes.

CVS is one of the nation’s largest drug store chains, while Epic has a widely installed electronic health records system. Under the collaborative effort, CVS will use Epic’s Healthy Planet population health and analytics platform to generate insights around dispensing patterns and behaviors involving medication adherence.

The companies expect the joint effort will bolster prescription decision-making for patients and their care teams, including physicians, pharmacists and health insurers. The hope is that real-time benefit information and facilitated, point-of-prescribing electronic prior authorization will help improve and simplify patient access to necessary medications and ensure their prescribers are aware of prescription insurance formulary status and less expensive alternatives as appropriate.

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Those goals seek to counteract some of the biggest problems that prescribers encounter in trying to match patients to prescriptions—whether more cost-effective pharmaceuticals or treatment options are available, and how best to ensure that patients stick to treatment regimens.

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

Insight into the data in patients’ EHRs is essential to achieve efficiencies in prescribing, says Troyen A. Brennan, MD, CVS’s chief medical officer.

“EHRs offer healthcare providers easier and more comprehensive access to their patients' information than ever before. 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."

Through this new strategic relationship CVS Health and Epic will explore a number of new areas including prescription drug savings, improved prescribing decisions, shared care plans for pharmacists and digital “front store” capabilities.

"CVS Health is one of the leaders in using data to dissolve domain silos, while offering new sources of intelligence and expertise that can better inform care delivery, reduce administrative overhead and lower costs for patients," said Alan Hutchison, vice president of population health for Epic.

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