Cigna’s Express Scripts Hones In On Digital Health Apps

Express Scripts will launch their first ever digital health formulary – a suite of health and wellness apps geared to payers looking to augment their health plans offerings. The intent is to offer pharmacy benefits managers (PBM) a curated list of tools as another way to survey what health tech has to offer. With all the options out there, they want to ensure their clients are getting the best health bang for their buck.

Digital health is one of the fast-growing areas with consumer demand for personalized apps and wearables is generating a wealth of tech-options being released onto the market. The global digital health market is projected to be worth $380 billion by 2026 – with an average growth rate of 26 percent annually.

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Payers who are shopping for a digital partner may find it challenging as the number of developers touting the next-big-healthtech-thing overwhelm those looking for the best choice. The difficulty comes with finding what works as there is little research offered to support all the claims made about app effectiveness. Express Scripts wants to cut some of the guesswork out for their member clients by providing a carefully chosen selection of products they feel will provide the most benefits.

“We are in an exciting age when technology is giving people even greater control of their own health and well-being,” Mark Bini, VP of innovation and member experience, said in a statement.

“However, much of this technology is still emerging, and there are many digital health solutions that require clinical review and validation,” he added. “We see a need to put mechanisms in place to help carefully manage these innovations, are proud to lead again by being the first health services organization to establish a formulary of this nature. The formulary will help ensure developers do right by payers and consumers, while increasing patient access to technology that can help improve their health.”

Similar to a medical formulary, each digital health solution included in the drug formulary will undergo a thorough review process where clinical outcomes and benefits data will be analyzed for therapeutic effectiveness. The practice will be guided by physicians, pharmacists, and health researchers and must also meet certain standards for security and privacy.

The impetus for implementing the program is to help plan sponsors reduce the administrative efforts to properly evaluate an app for their program. The list is also intended to increase affordability by allowing PBMs to leverage Express Scripts buying power to receive better pricing on health apps and tools. They are also hoping to create a thoroughfare for the growing number of prescription-only digital therapeutics that will be available in the coming months.

The first round of tools and services being rolled out in 2020 will include diabetes, cardiovascular health, behavioral health and pulmonary conditions. Other products will be added to cover chronic and complex medical diagnoses as they move through the process. Express Scripts efforts to create a digital scorecard for health apps is an innovative addition to services that will empower payers to bring their members the best services and help build healthier lives.