By Christine Kern, contributing writer
The collaboration will put lifesaving information about preventive services in consumers’ hands.
CVS has announced it is partnering with the department of Health and Human Services to put lifesaving information about preventive services into the hands of millions of consumers, according to the HHS blog. Karen DeSalvo, Director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced the partnership at Health Datapalooza 2015.
CVS calls its patient portal myHealthFinder and makes it available either through cvs.com or minuteclinic.com, the website of its MinuteClinic chain of convenience clinics. Information regarding cholesterol screening, routine vaccinations, wellness counseling, and other services can help patients stay healthy and catch diseases and conditions early enough for treatment to be most effective and least costly. Many of these preventive services are available to patients at MinuteClinic and CVS/pharmacy locations, as well as at their physician’s office, and many are now covered by most insurance without additional co-pays or other cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act.
“We know that prevention is key to helping families stay healthy, so we are pleased to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to give people easy access to more information about the preventive services clinically recommended for them,” Dr. Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and associate CMO of CVS Health, said in a company statement. “Many of these recommended preventive services are conveniently delivered at MinuteClinic, where we can coordinate with a patient’s primary care physician, and many preventive services are covered by health insurance, making it even easier for people to stay on their path to better health.”
CVS Health is the first national partner to work with HHS to make the technology-based tools associated with HealthFinder.gov more accessible to its customers. According to HHS, about 137 million American have private insurance coverage of preventive services without having to pay a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible, including more than 55 million women and 298 million children.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CVS Health are working together to put lifesaving information about preventive services into the hands of millions of consumers where they are already looking for it on CVS Health’s MinuteClinic.com and CVS.com/myhealthfinder websites,” said DeSalvo. “This tool supports physicians and the care team, and is an easy way to help people understand the recommended preventive services that are often available to them at no out of pocket cost thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”
To make myhealthfinder more readily available to more people, HHS recently developed a free, publically available application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool into any website. The API imports up-to-date information directly from healthfinder.gov. CVS Health is using the API to integrate myhealthfinder into MinuteClinic websites as part of a pilot project that will help gather important information that could inform improvements to future versions of the tool.