Six months ago, employers began facing a global pandemic and plenty of unknowns. How could they protect their people? What information could be trusted?
As employers, Evernorth and our family of companies, including Express Scripts, Accredo, and eviCore, needed to act quickly. That meant keeping more than a dozen pharmacies open to dispense essential medications, meeting the needs of our diverse workforce, and addressing emerging needs like the toll COVID-19 was taking on our collective mental health.
First, we worked to gain as complete an understanding of the situation as possible. We examined key metrics and analyzed our wealth of data, supplementing it with publicly available information from credible sources, including academic institutions and public health authorities, providing a holistic view of the pandemic. This enabled us to quickly launch and then enhance solutions to meet the needs of clients and patients.
A foundation built on data and clinical knowledge
In the early days of the pandemic, we set up a clinical review board to set guidelines and assigned expert analysts to monitor domestic and global trends. We continue to turn to this group of clinicians and data scientists for intelligence needed to inform key decisions – sometimes multiple times a day.
Through our monitoring of global trends, we saw rising demand for critical medications typically used for non-COVID-19 conditions, such as albuterol for asthma. Our supply chain organization moved quickly to shore up supply, ordering bulk quantities of albuterol in December and March – before the United States went into quarantine. This enabled us to meet increased demand at the Express Scripts Pharmacy as patients turned to home delivery to eliminate the risk of standing in line at the retail pharmacy. And when we saw spikes in prescriptions for treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, a drug more appropriately used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, we worked to protect the supply for patients with these diseases.
We continue to monitor the effects of the pandemic, evaluating impacts including delays and deferrals of necessary care and longer-term health trends, and reviewing prescriptions to spot trends and changes in utilization patterns. For example, rising requests for early refills offer insights on emerging hotspots. Increases in mental health drugs, as we saw in April, underscore the need to address long-term behavioral well-being. We work with clients to apply this data analysis to aid their understanding of trend drivers, outliers, and benefit dynamics to power their decision-making.
Innovation, agility pave the way to new and enhanced solutions
This year, more than any other, calls for ingenuity and creative problem-solving. Fortunately, we have a client- and patient-focused culture of innovation that allows us to address new market needs as they arise. Working from this foundation, we’ve introduced a number of tools to aid employers in everything from affordability to bringing employees back to the workplace.
- Our COVID-19 Risk Dashboard shows where COVID-19 case data intersects with data about patient health to help employers quickly identify vulnerable populations and assess risk in the geographic areas where their people work and live. We are now able to predict who’s at risk for hospitalization, should they be diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Express Scripts partnered with Buoy Health to offer an easy-to-use, mobile-optimized tool that lets employees self-screen before they arrive at work each day. If they report signs of illness, this digital tool helps employees find care to help relieve demand on the health care system.
- In response to increased mental and behavioral health prescriptions, Express Scripts partnered with SilverCloud Health to quickly offer free access to digital cognitive behavioral therapy for 60 days and have since brought a scaled solution to market. We also launched our comprehensive inMyndSM behavioral health solution. inMynd features the industry's first predictive models for the progression of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, allowing us to proactively anticipate a person’s needs and meet each member on their personal mental health journey.
We know employers and plans will continue needing guidance, support and solutions to new challenges as we set our paths to manage this unique time. By addressing immediate needs and the evolving nature of the crisis, we can help clients open their workplaces safely, keep people physically and mentally healthy long-term, and do everything possible to control the pandemic.
To learn more about our solutions for addressing workplace health and safety, population health and clinical care, greater affordability, and resiliency to cope with change, go to Evernorth Healthy Ways to WorkSM.