CVS Health to launch a virtual-first primary care platform

https://mailchi.mp/31b9e4f5100d/the-weekly-gist-june-03-2022?e=d1e747d2d8

The digital platform is designed to provide consumers with a coordinated healthcare experience across care settings. It’s being sold to Aetna’s fully insured and self-insured plan sponsors, as well as CVS Caremark clients, and is due to go live next year. According to CVS Health, the new offering “enables consumers to choose care when and where they want,” whether that’s virtually, in a retail setting (including at a MinuteClinic or HealthHUB), or through at-home services.

Patients will have access to primary care, on-demand care, medication management, chronic condition management, and mental health services, as well as help in identifying other in-network care providers. 

The Gist: CVS Health has been working to integrate its retail clinics, care delivery assets, and health insurance business. This new virtual-first care platform is aimed at coordinating care and experience across the portfolio, and streamlining how individuals access the range of services available to them.

CVS is not alone in focusing here: UnitedHealth Group, Cigna, and others have announced virtual-first health plans with a similar value proposition. Any payer or provider who aims to own the consumer relationship must field a similar digital care platform that streamlines and coordinates service offerings, lest they find themselves in a market where many patients turn first to CVS and other disruptors for their care needs. 

Why this insurance CEO thinks big healthcare brands are losing significance

Healthcare Branding: How to Make Your Healthcare Brand Stand Out page

Legacy health brands are losing their significance as healthcare consumers place higher value on convenience than reputation. That’s the idea behind a July 1 tweet by Sachin Jain, MD, the CEO of Scan Group and Scan Health Plan.

“We are in an era of the declining significance of big healthcare brands,” he said.

To Dr. Jain, big healthcare brands are the ones commonly known for being the best in a specific specialty or renowned in their region. While many big healthcare brands have high quality performance metrics to hang their clout on, Dr. Jain believes reliance on name alone is problematic.

“There’s been an arrogance by a lot of healthcare organizations that have kind of sold on brand. There’s going to be a reckoning for some of those organizations. My personal view is that the next generation of healthcare consumers is going to be less aligned to think about brands in the same way,” Dr. Jain told Becker’s.

Today’s patients are paying more attention to convenience, digital access and price than reputation. Cost of care, ease of scheduling and accessibility are beating out recognition, Dr. Jain said.

At Scan, Dr. Jain said the Long Beach, Calif.-based Medicare Advantage insurer that serves more than 220,000 members is hyperfocused on staying as human as possible and fulfilling unmet needs for its community.

“Elite healthcare brands are entering this fun phase where they are becoming underdogs. They need to have a chip on their shoulders almost to thrive and perform in this next phase,” Dr. Jain said. “Because I’m not sure payers are necessarily going to continue to pay the same premiums per brand.”