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Digital health platform Xealth strikes partnership with another big health IT vendor

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Xealth, a startup working to solve some of the logistical challenges faced by digital health companies, struck a partnership with Cerner. The Seattle-based company makes it easier to prescribe digital health tools and integrate them with health record systems.

The partnership is intended to make it easier for patients and their health teams to keep track of engagement with digital health tools and the effect on patients’ health.

“In order for digital health to have lasting impact, it needs to show value and ease for both the care team and patient,” Xealth CEO and Co-Founder Mike McSherry said in a news release. “We strongly believe that technology should nurture deeper patient-provider relationships and facilitate information sharing across systems and the care settings. It is exciting to work with Cerner to simplify meaningful digital health for its health partners.”

Cerner and venture capital firm LRVHealth also invested $6 million into Xealth. Last year, the company raised $14 million in series A funding, with investors including Providence Ventures and the Cleveland Clinic.

David Bradshaw, senior vice president of consumer and employer solutions for Cerner, said the partnership would give patients the opportunity to participate in their own treatment plans.

“Patients want greater access to their health information and are motivated to help care teams find the most appropriate road to recovery,” he said in a news release.

Xealth had already been integrated into Epic, and with this partnership, it will be tied into the two most widely used EHRs. The company is integrated with more than 30 different digital health solutions, ranging from diabetes management platforms such as Omada and Glooko, to Resmed’s connected sleep apnea machines, and patient engagement platforms like Twistle.

One of the startup’s clients, Providence St. Joseph Health, used Twistle in combination with Xealth’s platform to monitor patients with Covid-19 symptoms at home. It helped them keep track of patients’ temperature and oxygen saturation by providing an easy form for them to record their metrics.

Photo credit: a-image, Getty Images

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Express Scripts strikes partnership with Prime Therapeutics

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Pharmacy service providers Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics launched a three-year partnership to negotiate lower drug costs. The deal would allow Prime to use Express Scripts’ retail pharmacy network and pharmaceutical contracts.

Combined, the two companies will be able to leverage a large customer base. Express Scripts, the large pharmacy benefit company that Cigna acquired last year, covers more than 75 million customers across 3,000 health plans. Prime Therapeutics, which is owned by 18 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, covers 28 million customers across 23 health plans.

Express Scripts President Tim Wentworth said in a news release that the two companies could use their capabilities to deliver more affordable care.

Prime CEO Ken Paulus added the collaboration “…will improve outcomes while still maintaining flexibility and transparency to the clients we proudly serve.”

The two PBMs claimed the partnership would result in more affordable care for clients and plan members, though they did not specify how much it would save them. Express Scripts expects the deal will begin to contribute to its income starting in 2021. Last year, Express Scripts contributed $2.6 billion to Cigna’s pharmacy revenues.

“How members see savings is a decision that ultimately resides with payers but typically savings are used to control overall premium rates,” Express Scripts Spokeswoman Jennifer Luddy wrote in an emailed statement. “Additionally, once implemented, we do expect some members, especially those in high deductible health plans or with co-insurance, will benefit from lower costs on medicines at their pharmacies.”

Both companies will still negotiate independently with pharmaceutical managers, and the companies will also separately manage relationships related to value-based contracting. Relationships with caregivers, members and other stakeholders will also remain independent.

The news follows heavy consolidation between PBMs and health insurance plans. Cigna closed its $67 billion purchase of Express Scripts at the end of 2018, and a federal judge approved the CVS-Aetna merger in September. Most recently, UnitedHealth Group announced plans for its subsidiary OptumRx to acquire specialty pharmacy company Diplomat for $300 million.

 

Photo credit: PeopleImages, Getty Images

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