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Advanced Analytics Come to Walgreens’ Walk-In Clinics

November 13, 2013
by John DeGaspari
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Continuity of care is the goal of the ‘encounter-support’ platform envisioned for the drug chain’s network of clinics

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co. has introduced an analytics platform (the Electronic Patient Assessment Solution Suite, or ePASS, supplied by Inovalon, Inc., Bowie, Md.) at its network of walk-in clinics that is says will help reduce gaps in care. Heather Helle, divisional vice president of the Healthcare Clinic, says the retail drug chain began a rolling launch of the platform in its clinics in September, and says she expects it to be “broadly available” at the national drug chain’s clinics.

Inovalon is a business associate of more than 100 major health plans in the U.S., which cover roughly half of the insured population. Its ePASS platform aggregates patient data from administrative claims, medication prescription and adherence and history, diagnostic results, provider encounter history, and other data sets such as abstracted medical records. That data is supplemented by a large healthcare research data set. It uses that information to provide insight into the full member profile and gaps in care, assessment and documentation.

At Walgreens clinics, the information will be limited to encounters with patients who are covered by payors working with Inovalon. Helle says the agreement enables Walgreens “to bring advanced analytics to the point of care environment. We have a network of almost 400 healthcare clinics across 22 states. By using this, we are able to bring a new point of convenience for member assessments.” Today, many of those patient assessments are done in the home, she says. Using ePASS, the assessments can also be conducted at the clinic locations, which she believes will “help improve the completion rate for the assessments, provide a new level of insights for our providers, as well as help to improve overall patient healthcare outcomes and health plan performance.” She declines to share specific patient projections of who would be eligible for the assessments, but says it is a significant number.

Walgreens Healthcare Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who partner with collaborating physicians; among its services are prevention and wellness treatment and chronic condition management. For Inovalon-specific patient encounters, the analytics platform helps to identify appropriate interventions for a particular patient. During a visit, the clinician will be able to use the data to confirm a diagnosis, identify and close gaps in care, and provide counseling on medication adherence, Helle says. Information about each patient encounter is stored in Walgreens’ electronic health record, so will be available for reference during follow-up visits at the clinic. As a standard part of each of those encounters, a summary of the visit is shared with the patient’s primary care physician as a structured SOAP note. The patient also receives insight into their particular health issues that they should follow up with their provider, she says.

 

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