CVS Health added Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network to its growing list of hospitals participating in a clinical affiliation on data sharing.
Thursday, the pharmacy company announced that for patients who visit CVS, the affiliation allows participating hospital networks access to the patient’s data, with consent, through CVS’ electronic health records and information systems. The clinical collaboration is with CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic, the retail clinic inside many CVS/pharmacy locations.
“The change in technology has really made it possible over the last 12 months,” said Ray Midlam, vice president of planning and business development for St. Luke’s, headquartered in Fountain Hill. “We are seeing the health care retail market change.”
Many people are seeking care in pharmacies, urgent care centers, grocery stores such as Wegmans (through its telemedicine technology) and other nontraditional places.
“Just like anything else, patients are seeking care in different ways,” Midlam said.
After a person visits one of these places for care and provides consent, hospital networks such as St. Luke’s can access a summary of the medical treatment the patient received and whether or not he or she picked up any prescriptions. That allows the network to follow through with the patient to see if he continues to take the prescriptions.
“It’s really a great partnership to advance the health care of our community,” said Bob Begliomini, vice president of operations for LVHN. “We really feel it’s an advancement in how we take care of patients.”
Epic, the software that LVHN uses for electronic health records, provides an opportunity for all caregivers and supporting staff to be able to see all patient data in one system, Begliomini said.
LVHN implemented Epic in February; the software goes live across the entire network on Aug. 1, he said.
St. Luke’s also will use Epic. After St. Luke’s moves a significant portion of its employees to the former LSI building in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, next month, the network will start training employees on Epic, which is mainly for clinicians, nurses and doctors. Epic will go live across all six St. Luke’s hospitals on Jan. 9, said Kira Bub, St. Luke’s spokeswoman.
“When we talk about the CVS affiliation, we can now be able to see that information, and our providers will be able to see what was done,” Begliomini said.
When an LVHN care provider prescribes medication, it’s often done electronically. If the patient goes to a CVS and decides not to pick up the medication or if there is some problem associated with the medication, LVHN can be immediately notified, Begliomini said.
The relationship is not exclusive to CVS, Midlam said. As other pharmacies and sites become more advanced in sharing this data, other establishments also could affiliate with these hospitals.
“As we see these more acute retail services, we are looking to partner with them in other ways,” Midlam said. “We are going to be able to help them provide more advanced services.”
CVS Health has more than 60 affiliations with major health systems and health care providers across the nation, said Christina Beckerman, spokeswoman for CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, R.I. In addition to LVHN and St. Luke’s, CVS is affiliated with Commonwealth Health in Northeastern Pennsylvania and Main Line Health in the Philadelphia area.