Healthcare

Pill Delivery And Medical Payments: The Latest In Healthcare Disruption

A prescription delivery program and a deal involving medical payments data show how the healthcare industry is quickly changing as technology develops, and as Amazon prepares its own major moves.

First, the news that’s most directly related to payments: Verscend Technologies has agreed to buy Cotiviti Holdings for $4.9 billion in cash, the two healthcare technology firms said in a press release on Tuesday (June 19).

“Together, Verscend and Cotiviti will offer our clients a comprehensive, integrated end-to-end solution to address the estimated $900 billion in healthcare waste and abuse across the claims payment and care continuum,” said Emad Rizk, the medical doctor who is president and CEO of Verscend. “Financial data coupled with clinical data from our Risk Adjustment, Quality and Population Health lines of business offer increased value to commercial payers, government entities and providers.”

Cotiviti described itself as a provider of “payment accuracy and analytics-driven solutions that helps payers, other risk-bearing healthcare organizations and retailers achieve their business objectives,” according to the statement. Services provided by Verscend drive “better healthcare outcomes through data analytics, supporting payers’ financial performance and quality improvement initiatives.” Verscend is a portfolio company of Veritas Capital, a private equity firm.

The transaction will closed in the fourth quarter, the two companies said.

Meanwhile, CVS Health is trying to stay a step ahead of Amazon, according to reports. On Tuesday (June 19), the retailer launched prescription delivery from CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide.

“Customers who wish to have their medications delivered directly to their mailbox, as quickly as the next day, can now request prescription delivery via the CVS Pharmacy app or by calling their neighborhood store and asking to have their prescriptions delivered,” the company said in a press release.

The delivery service charge is $4.99, the retailer said  though same-day delivery, if available, costs $8.99. CVS said it is the “first national retailer to offer pharmacy and front-store delivery chain-wide.”

According to CNBC, “Customers in most markets where CVS’ nearly 10,000 stores are located will be able to receive their orders either one or two days after placing them. Some customers in urban markets will be able to receive orders the same day.”

The CVS service is a preemptive strike against Amazon, according to CNBC. Amazon not only offers same-day and two-day shipping, but “is now eyeing the prescription drug market,” the report noted. “The eCommerce giant already sells private label over-the-counter drugs through a partnership with Perrigo, and has obtained pharmacy licenses in a handful of states. Amazon has licenses to distribute medical devices in nearly all U.S. states.

That’s not all, of course.

Amazon is designing technology to take unstructured data from electronic medical records and identify an incorrect code or the misdiagnosis of a patient. A healthcare venture backed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase seeks to launch a company that would reduce healthcare costs, among other goals. To achieve that, the collaborative which still lacks a CEO — will create a constraint-free independent company that isn’t focused on profit-making incentives.

Google, too, is getting deeper into healthcare.

It is hiring staff to work on an early-stage research project called Medical Digital Assist, which will use voice recognition to help physicians take notes. Four recently posted internal job listings describe building the “next-gen clinical visit experience,” as well as utilizing audio and touch technologies to improve the accuracy and availability of care.

That stands as just the latest project for Google Brain, which focuses on healthcare. Late last year, the Brain team launched a “digital scribe” study with Stanford Medicine, using speech recognition and machine learning tools so that doctors could automatically fill out electronic health records (EHR) from patient visits.

Additionally, Microsoft is working with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on its own Intelligent Scribe system.

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