Andrew Sussman, MD, is executive vice president and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health, and president of MinuteClinic.
Tell me about yourself and your job.
My role at CVS Health is executive vice president and associate chief medical officer, as well as president of MinuteClinic, which is the largest and fastest growing retail medical clinic provider in the United States, with over 1,050 retail healthcare centers in 33 states. Over the past few years, we’ve expanded MinuteClinic’s range of clinical services and formed strategic affiliations with over 60 leading healthcare systems – including the Cleveland Clinic, as well as providers like the Henry Ford Health System, Emory Healthcare and MedStar Health Washington, DC. – to improve patient access to high-quality medical treatment.
How did the relationship with Health is Primary come about?
Retail clinics like MinuteClinic are an important part of supporting access and convenience in the medical neighborhood. Our MinuteClinics are open seven days a week – including evenings and weekends and are conveniently located inside CVS/pharmacy stores. Patients can see one of our family nurse practitioners or physician assistants without an appointment and most insurance is accepted.
MinuteClinic is working with Health is Primary because it’s important to recognize that a connected, accessible healthcare system is the best way to support patients. By partnering with primary care and family medicine, we will continue to improve provider collaboration and help ensure all patients have access to primary care within a coordinated medical neighborhood. MinuteClinic can help fill the gaps in access; for example, half of our patients are seen on evenings and weekends, and many of our patients do not have a PCP. We provide lists of PCPs taking new patients for follow up.
How will CVS and HIP use technology to move this initiative forward?
Technology like EHRs facilitates critical coordination between MinuteClinic and patient-centered medical homes. We place a very high priority on ensuring our clinics and patients are well coordinated with their primary care provider. MinuteClinic uses the Epic Health Record system, one of the most widely used, effective ways to ensure real-time communication with a patient’s medical home. With a patient’s permission, we communicate with their primary care provider about critical health issues, preventive care, and medication adherence. Epic connects with thousands of physician practices around the country, including providers using other EHRs. We also have connections with other EHRs through Epic and Surescripts.
It’s a busy/explosive time for retail clinics. What does CVS have planned in terms of expansion in the next year? And in terms of business partnerships with other organizations like Target?
We are working to transform primary care by expanding our national footprint, offering new clinical services and collaborating with health systems. Based on our current footprint, half of all Americans have a MinuteClinic within 10 miles of their home. In 2016, we will be focusing on integrating our newly acquired clinics in Target stores, assuming regulatory approval. We will also be exploring the delivery of care through telehealth that opens up new opportunities for access to care.
Does CVS anticipate making in the near future any big transitions to new healthcare technologies for its customers (aside from those pharmacy-centric solutions announced on 11/18)?
In 2015, we completed our implementation of the Epic EHR nationwide. We also announced pilots with telehealth providers American Well, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc. We’re continually looking at new ways to utilize technology that supports our digital innovation model and empowers our customers with a highly personalized experience across all channels.
How will telemedicine factor into the company/clinic’s growth, and will these types of consults be a part of your partnership with HIP?
We are currently piloting ways we can use telehealth to improve and expand patient care in order to add value for patients, clients, and health plans and improve access to low-cost, quality care. During our initial phase of exploration of telehealth, we learned that we could deliver excellent quality care and that patients were extremely satisfied with the care provided. MinuteClinic data recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine demonstrated that overall, 95 percent of patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit, and the timeliness and convenience of their care.
How is CVS working to facilitate interoperability between its clinics, pharmacies, and outside providers? How has the company’s membership in CommonWell facilitated these efforts?
As mentioned, MinuteClinic uses the Epic, which connects with thousands of physician practices around the country and is interoperable with other electronic health record systems. Being involved with CommonWell will also allow us to deliver real-time, pharmacy-based information into physician practices, and helps the pharmacist deliver care-based messages back to patients.