Since acquiring Aetna in 2018, CVS Health has set its sights on expanding its services in the health care market. The combined companies are taking steps to give consumers more control of their care while hoping to make it less expensive and easier to use. Two recent announcements would support that goal.
Expanding Services to Include Sleep Apnea Treatment
Citing the complexities of traditional obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, CVS Health is introducing a service that it says will streamline the process. In a video announcement, Troy Brennan, MD, CVS Health executive vice president and chief medical officer, says the pharmacy can do a better job than traditional health care in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, which he says can take four to five months. Emphasizing that consumers demand convenience, Dr. Brennan outlines a two-week process from a patient’s first visit to a MinuteClinic to receiving a CPAP machine.
After a sleep assessment at the MinuteClinic, patients suspected of having sleep apnea will use a home sleep apnea test to confirm the diagnosis. In this arrangement, patients would not see a sleep specialist or visit a sleep lab; however, CVS says the home sleep apnea test results are reviewed by independent, board-certified sleep medicine physicians who make a final diagnosis. Following a sleep apnea diagnosis, patients return to CVS to review the results, learn about treatment and receive information about CPAP devices, which are available for purchase in some CVS locations.
Virtual Sleep Therapy to Tackle Insomnia
In another program aimed at treating sleep disorders, CVS Health is partnering with Big Health, the company behind software that provides personalized digital sleep improvement programs such as Sleepio. Available as an app or web-based program, Sleepio uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people adjust their behaviors to improve their sleep. The AASM recommends CBT as a first step in treatment for chronic insomnia.
Sleepio asks users to set sleep goals and identify their problems falling or staying asleep, and then it builds a customized program with weekly sleep “lessons” from a virtual coach. Tools include sleep diaries and a user community to share experiences and advice. CVS Health expects the partnership to improve patient access to digital tools that help them manage conditions like insomnia.
Read more sleep industry news from the AASM.