Walgreens Study Demonstrates Potential of New Stratified Approach Toward Achieving Triple Aim for Accountable Care Organizations

Walgreens Study Demonstrates Potential of New Stratified Approach Toward Achieving Triple Aim for Accountable Care Organizations


A new Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) research article projects that by taking an innovative approach to classifying patient populations, health systems can more effectively prevent “triple fail” events – or outcomes which fail to advance population health, reduce per capita health care costs and improve individual patient experience . The article, titled “How Health Systems Could Avert ‘Triple Fail’ Events That Are Harmful, Are Costly, And Result in Poor Patient Satisfaction,” was published in the April edition of Health Affairs.

“As pressures on the global health care system continue to mount, the triple aim framework has increasingly been recognized as critical to improving outcomes while lowering costs,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens senior vice president, health and wellness services and solutions. “At Walgreens, we have seen firsthand through our work with physicians, health systems and our own ACOs the importance of looking for innovative approaches to coordinating care – such as the one analyzed in this article –to keep populations healthy.”

The research examines how classifying (or ‘stratifying’) patients according to individual risk and expected response to an intervention can further the “triple aim.” The triple aim framework, created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), asks that health systems evaluate performance by simultaneously pursuing three dimensions – improved patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving population health and reducing per capita cost of health care.

“Our findings suggest that if organizations expand their thinking around how to classify patients in order to take a more predictive approach aimed at preventing triple fail events before they occur, the potential benefits for all stakeholders would be significant,” said Ian Duncan, FSA, MAAA, vice president, clinical outcomes and analytics, Walgreens. “Ultimately, this method could become a model for how to address population health and how to help meet the needs of patients, health systems, payers and providers.”

The article examines two approaches that have been used to achieve the triple aim — the population strategy, which seeks to lower risk across an entire population; and the targeted strategy, which seeks to lower risk by identifying and intervening with high-risk individuals.

The “stratified approach” is presented in the article as a third and novel method, focused on identifying and prioritizing subpopulations according to their risk of health encounter failures and their likelihood of benefiting from preventive care. To identify at-risk subpopulations, health providers must analyze medical claims, pharmacy claims, electronic health record information and other administrative data to predict individuals’ risk of different triple fail events.

Geraint Lewis, chief data officer of the NHS Commissioning Board and former senior director of Walgreens clinical outcomes and analytics, will be presenting the editorial findings at the Triple Aim Goes Global Health Affairs event on Thursday, April 11 at the Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington D.C.

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens () vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services help improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,077 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.