Health care spending in the United States continues to grow yearly, outpacing inflation and gaining a greater share of the country’s GDP. By 2025, health care expenditures are estimated to be 19.9 percent of the nation’s GDP, up from 17.8 percent in 2015.
CVS Health is on the leading edge of addressing cost challenges in the health care system, providing lower-cost, high-quality care to patients in need of medical attention and wellness services.
Addressing Patient Needs in the Most Appropriate Setting
Emergency room (ER) overutilization for non-urgent matters is one of the most common examples of inefficient use of health care services. It’s a trend that isn’t slowing, and a poll of nearly 2,100 ER physicians nationwide found an increase in the volume of patients in emergency departments.
While utilization is on the rise, data suggest the needs of some ER patients could be met in lower-cost settings. One group has found that between 13.7-27.1 percent of all ER visits could be treated in a retail or urgent care clinic, where savings could reach upwards of $4 billion annually.
The nurse practitioners and physician assistants who staff CVS Health Minute Clinics are well-positioned to provide quality care and help patients with non-urgent medical assistance. In fact, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo has commented on how Minute Clinic, compared to the ER, delivers similar or better outcomes at a fraction of the ER’s cost.
Pharmacists Meet Patients Where They Are
Pharmacists provide exceptional, cost-effective health care, and play an integral role in a patient’s path to better health. Their unique position in the community makes them a frequent touchpoint for patients between doctor visits. We know that a majority of patients consider their pharmacist a member of their health care team, and that they actively engage with their pharmacist on health care decisions regarding their medications.
Today, our pharmacists are delivering expert care in a number of ways, including:
- Offering strategies to help keep patients on track with their medications
- Providing counseling, medication therapy management, immunizations and preventive screenings, which can lead to better health outcomes
- Helping address issues surrounding the current opioid crisis
Pharmacists can address patient needs while providing the appropriate level of care, at the right time, and at a much lower cost. Going forward, we are actively advocating for empowering pharmacists to work to the top of their training and licensure, to help deliver quality outcomes at significant cost savings.
For more information about our efforts to improve pharmacy care, visit our Thought Leadership information center. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.