CVS Health launches a new pilot programme to combat diabetes in underserved areas
Following on from the Department of Justice’s approval of the $69bn mega merger of CVS Health with health insurance company, Aetna, CVS Health is set to undertake a pilot programme in the Tri-Cities area of Atlanta, Georgia.
“In our new health care model, we provide people access to more affordable care when, where and how they need it,” the company has previous stated. “Care will be coordinated among the health care providers, caregivers and their health care teams, leveraging the connectivity CVS will provide.
Aimed at addressing diabetes in medically underserved communities with chronically high rates of this disease, the company has partnered with digital health business, Rimidi Inc to improve access to essential care.
Enabling efficient personalised care to forward the future of healthcare, Rimidi will harness its platform in collaboration with the company and engage community-based organizations to ensure that at-risk residents can be identified for participation.
This grassroots approach will help ensure residents have access to care in their own communities with the help of best-in-class organisations that are providing health care and community services.
"Like many major US cities, Atlanta has significant disparities in life-expectancy across the metropolitan area, from 71 years in medically underserved communities to 84 years in more affluent neighbourhoods. Our collaboration with CVS Health will build on the foundation laid by community partners to address these needs and to bring health care services to people where they live and work," said Dr Lucienne Ide, Rimidi Chair.
- Amazon secures a patent to further utilise Alexa to support patients
- The Department of Justice has approved the merger of CVS and Aetna
- Top 10 healthcare startups 2018
Together with community organizations, the companies will enroll residents onto the Rimidi platform and engage them in the diabetes education and support services offered through the pilot. The combination of hyper-local health care services through a pilot CVS Pharmacy location and digital services through Rimidi aims to decrease barriers to care and improve the patient experience.
CVS pharmacists and community certified diabetes educators will have the goal of supporting participants throughout the continuum of care, providing additional touch points designed to address their individual needs between primary care visits.
"CVS Health has a community-based focus, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it, including through face-to-face contact with CVS pharmacists right in their neighbourhoods," added Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health.
"The organisations that we collaborate with, such as Rimidi, are helping us deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health."
CVS Health has a longstanding commitment to building healthier communities for the people of Georgia. Through its employee volunteer program, CVS Health colleagues logged more than 680 volunteer hours last year in Georgia in support of local community causes throughout the state.
Additionally, over the past three years, CVS Health has contributed nearly $850,000 to local community organizations in Georgia, lending its support to programmes that improve access to health care; provide chronic disease management; promote smoking cessation and youth tobacco prevention; and help combat prescription drug abuse.
Long haul Covid, the brain and digital therapies
It is estimated that around 10% of people who get Covid-19 develop long haul Covid, a debilitating condition that can last many months and cause breathlessness, exhaustion and pain.
Research is underway to find out who is more likely to get it and how to treat it. Here neuroplasticity expert and owner of Harley Street Solutions in London Ashok Gupta tells us how the condition affects the brain.
What is long Covid exactly?
Long Covid is when patients who have experienced Covid-19 go on to have continuing symptoms for weeks and months afterwards. These symptoms can include breathlessness, exhaustion, brain fog, gastric issues, pain, and post-exertional malaise. It is estimated that around 10% of Covid-19 infections may result in developing long haul symptoms, and in the USA, this may be affecting over 3 million people.
How does it affect the brain?
Here at our clinic, we hypothesise that it is due to a malfunction in the unconscious brain, creating a conditioned response that keeps the body in a hyper-aroused state of defensiveness. At the core of this hypothesis is the idea that we are here because our nervous system and immune system have evolved to survive. We are survival machines!
When we encounter something such as Covid-19, the brain perceives it as life threatening, and rightly so. And in the era of the pandemic, with more stress, anxiety and social isolation, our immunity may be compromised, and therefore it may take longer for the immune system to fight off the virus and recover.
If the brain makes the decision that this is potentially life threatening and we get to the stage where we’re overcoming the virus, a legacy is left in the brain; it keeps over-responding to anything that reminds us of the virus. Even if we’ve fought off the virus, the brain will react in a precautionary way to stimuli reminiscent of the virus.
The brain may get stuck in that overprotective response, and keeps stimulating our nervous system and our immune system, just in case the virus may still be present.
What symptoms does this cause?
These signals cause a cascade of symptoms including breathlessness, extreme fatigue, brain fog, loss of taste or smell, headaches, and many others. And these are caused by our own immunes system.
In the case of long-haul Covid, symptoms in the body get detected by a hypersensitive brain which thinks we’re still in danger. The brain then chronically stimulates the immune and nervous systems, and then we have a continuation of a chronic set of symptoms.
This isn’t unique to long-haul Covid. Many patients develop chronic fatigue syndrome, sometimes known as “ME”, for example, after the flu, a stomach bug, or respiratory illness. Covid-19 may be a severe trigger of a form of chronic fatigue syndrome or ME.
How does long-haul Covid affect mental health?
Anxiety is a very common symptom in long haulers. It can be frightening to wonder about what may be happening in your body, and what the prognosis is going to be for one’s long term health. Reaching out for support for mental health is crucial for long-haulers.
How does neuroplasticity treatment work for long-haul COVID patients?
We have been working with patients for two decades with a brain retraining programme using neuroplasticity or “limbic retraining.”
We believe that through neural rewiring, the brain can be “persuaded” that we are no longer in danger and to come back to homeostasis. But to be very clear, we are not saying it is psychological in any way, but we believe there are novel ways of accessing the unconscious brain.
We recently worked successfully with a 56-year-old male with long-haul Covid, who prior to contracting Covid-19 in March of 2020 was running half-marathons and cycling, but afterwards he struggled to get off the sofa for months. Within 3 months he’s now back to 100% and running half marathons again.
At our clinic, we train the patient to be able to recognise those subtle unconscious danger signals on the periphery of consciousness. This, coupled with supportive techniques and the natural hallmarks of good health such as sleep and diet help prepare the patient to respond to perceived threats that might trigger the response.
The natural state of our brain is to default to protection. The brain prioritises survival and passing on our genes to the next generation, over any other impulse. It cares more about that than you feeling healthy and well. Protective responses are evolutionary, and are the right thing for the brain to do – it’s survival.
What digital therapies or apps are proving effective at treating long-haul Covid?
It seems that long haul patients are availing themselves of many online therapies and services, including meditation apps and wellness websites. We have an online neuroplasticity “brain retraining” video course called the “Gupta Program” which hosts 15 interactive videos and many audio exercises. This is proving very popular with long haul patients, and we are currently conducting a trial to test the effectiveness of this therapy.
What is the danger of leaving long-haul Covid untreated?
The longer it goes untreated, we hypothesise that it may become more entrenched in the brain, and become chronic in the longer term. Therefore we advise all patients to get help and advice as soon as possible.