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At the intersection

There are two key trends playing out in health care right now that are simultaneously coming to a head — patients are taking an increasingly hands-on role in their health and pharmacy reimbursements are being tied to outcomes. One company that is operating at the intersection of these trends is higi, whose health monitoring stations delivered 42 million blood pressure screenings last year. Drug Store News caught up with higi CEO Jeff Bennett about how a connected healthcare system can translate to healthier patients.

Drug Store News: How do higi and its retail partners help facilitate better healthcare knowledge?

Jeff Bennett: At higi, our goal is to make it easier for you to be your healthiest. We are a population health enablement company that empowers consumers to better measure, track and act on their health data by first knowing it and then taking the action of sharing it with trusted healthcare providers and pharmacists, so together, they can determine the best action. To date, more than 50 retailers have worked with us and placed 11,000 stations in stores, and we delivered 42 million blood pressure screenings last year. This shows how retailers can be that front door of health care by connecting their customers to healthcare stakeholders through the higi platform.

DSN: Recent data from CVS Health showed that a good portion of women aren’t aware of their heart disease risk. How do your screenings help people understand their risks and what other factors might be impacting their health?

JB: This is an important topic, especially with the new blood pressure guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. As health care becomes more personalized, health information is likewise going to be personalized to the individual. Helping consumers understand and digest their personal information is critical. Of the 17 million screenings completed on higi stations by women in 2017, 60% had blood pressure readings that were in the hypertensive range with these new guidelines. More importantly, every 90 seconds one woman had a blood pressure reading that was in the range of hypertensive crisis, which highlights the value of convenient and immediate access to a trusted healthcare professional, including pharmacists.

DSN: What are some of the ways that higi and its partners help make pharmacists and stores into a resource for patients beyond
the screening?

JB: higi has three key pillars — reach, know, manage. The first step is asking how to get someone to engage and do a screening. But that’s just the first step. Our goal is to make it easier for the consumer — and for the stakeholders trying to reach these individuals — to routinely track their vitals over time for better population health management.

At Wegmans, consumers can securely share their health data from the station with the pharmacist through a secure integration with McKesson. The consumer can sit down at the station, receive a unique code, then walk up to the pharmacist and say ‘I want to share my data with you,’ which allows the pharmacist to review
outcomes and see how that patient is managing their health, along with their adherence information.
By being consumer-centric and inspiring the consumer to connect to their health, these efforts will drive better engagement between the pharmacist, doctor, and the patient. Higher engagement drives better outcomes over time, and we are making that regular touchpoint easier.

DSN: What do you see as the future of connected health, and what will higi’s
role be?

JB: We bet on this five years ago, and it’s great when something like CVS Health-Aetna, with its focus on connected health, happens because it validates the investments we’ve made. There is a need in the market for consumers who want a more convenient, cheaper and easier way to connect with healthcare providers and share their data. Through our actionable data and technology integrations, higi is that connective tissue as healthcare systems continue to move toward a value-based system where the retailer can be that front door of health care, making it truly easier for people to be their healthiest.

Jeff Bennett is the CEO of higi.

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