CVS to Share Medical Records With 4 Major Providers
CVS Health announced June 24 that it will be partnering and sharing data with four new healthcare providers across the nation via their electronic health records.
“In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve,” Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a news release. “By allowing our electronic health records and information systems to communicate and share important information about the patients we collectively serve, we will have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases.”
In practice, that means that CVS pharmacy prescription and MinuteClinic visit information will be fed directly into patients’ EHRs so that doctors can have more relevant data when providing counseling and treatment and ensure patients are taking their medications as prescribed.
The four providers are Sutter Health of California, Bryan Health Connect of Nebraska, Mount Kisco Medical Group of New York and Millennium Physican Group of Florida.
CVS has more than 7,800 retail pharmacies and nearly 1,000 MinuteClinic locations in the United States. The latter are walk-in clinics that are open seven days a week and offer evening hours. They are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
It is quickly becoming common for healthcare providers to use EHRs to store patient information. In 2013, a full 78% of office-based physicians were using some type of EHR; in 2001, that figure was only 18%. CVS first began using its current EHR system in 2014.
The challenge in sharing data more widely, however, is that most health systems use different software systems, either proprietary ones or ones created by specialized medical software companies. This lack of interoperability, as it’s called, makes these sort of private partnerships necessary if patients are to reap the promised benefits of electronic records.