CVS Caremark, in partnership with IBM, has announced a $1.5 million commitment to support the use of innovative technology in community health centers to increase patient engagement and to improve patient care and outcomes.
The "Technology Solutions for Smarter Health" grants will be awarded to community health centers nationwide that are in need of advanced technology that will help people on their path to better health. The grants will enhance technology infrastructure currently in place to help centers easily communicate and share health information with patients through secure electronic messaging. The advanced technology will also provide patients with the ability to view,download and transmit their health information online.
Today, more than 9,000 health center sites throughout the country are providing care for more than 22 million Americans, CVS says. As local, community-based health care systems in rural and urban neighborhoods, health centers are able to provide direct health services that are both affordable and accessible.
The new program is in addition to the multi-million dollar, multi-year partnership between National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and CVS Caremark's foundation, The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, which has awarded nearly 60 community health centers with "Innovations in Community Health" grants over the past two years to support the development of innovative, community-based programs and initiatives that focus on the treatment and management of chronic illnesses, specifically heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma. The "Innovations in Community Health" grant program is helping to increase access to quality health care and produce better health outcomes while reducing costs for patients and health care systems.
In February, CVS Caremark made headlines when it announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014. It was the first action of its kind by a national pharmacy chain.
Last year, in its 2012 CSR Report, the pharmacy chain pointed to research that patients are increasingly turning to their pharmacists for guidance on a range of health care issues beyond simple advice on their medications. This likely influenced the company’s decision to eliminate cigarettes, to better align its brand with its mission statement of improving health nationwide.