Envolve Panel Addresses How Unmet Basic Needs Impact Health Behaviors of Low-Income and Diabetic Populations

Date: 2019-09-25

This past week at the Medicaid Health Plans of America Conference in Washington, DC, Envolve along with other esteemed panelists discussed the connection of unmet basic needs and diabetes intervention strategies. The session entitled How Unmet Basic Needs Impact Health Behaviors of Low-Income and Diabetic Populations brought together experts from population health, pharmacy, implementation, and research to take on a holistic view of the subject.

Dr. Julie O’Brien of the Centene Center for Health Transformation and Principal Behavioral Scientist for the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University kicked off the session discussing the results of a recent research study where her team explored what basic needs impact health behaviors. Among the items discussed was the impact lack of financial resources has on daily behaviors, disease control, ER utilization, and preventative care. Dr. O’Brien stated, “We see that both financial stress but also the psychological aspect related to well-being can be important for daily behaviors.”  

The discussion continued with an overview of population health management challenges and solutions that are helping health plans overcome high costs and improve member engagement. Jill Erkens of Envolve’s Pharmacy Solutions division discussed how motivational interviewing and its ability to personalize the outreach made to members has made positive impact on medication adherence. She told the story of an hour-long conversation one of her team pharmacists had with a member where the member shared taking all medications had been stopped because they were not helping. Through use of motivational interviewing, the pharmacist and member instead created a “keep taking” list and an “ask my provider about stopping” list. Follow-up was made to both the member and provider resulting in the member remaining adherent to her medications. In one case study, members who were reached had greater odds of A1c control compared to those who were not reached showing that 85% of patients controlled their glycemia after speaking with a pharmacist.[1] This method helps identify barriers to better health and provides an outlet for identifying additional services a member may need.

The panel then asked, “what if our population health management programs did more…and in real time?” It comes as no surprise that many members have needs that go unmet, and these needs, or social determinants of health, impact their health and health decisions. Dr. Jeremey Corbett, divisional Chief Health Officer at Envolve, stressed the need for real-time, actionable data explaining how it is far more likely to get members to actively engage with a program that is relevant to where they find themselves right now.

The session continued covering results from Envolve’s On.Demand diabetes management program being implemented with a health plan in Florida. The program distributes glucometers to members and as glucose levels are tested, the readings automatically upload to a secure cloud-based platform. The program utilizes targeted smart-education materials and real-time data offering long-term behavior change through proactive and responsive health coaching.

“We really bring behavior change to the member because our coaches now have an opportunity to touch base on the isolation, to touch base on access to care issues,” said Dr. Corbett. By alleviating some of the potential barriers for the member such as concerns about extra trips to the pharmacy for testing supplies and emergency situations caused by running out of necessary supplies, and by providing a health coach viewed as a partner, the program promotes better health outcomes.

Envolve partners with organizations to customize the best approach to managing benefits for their unique populations. Learn more about our diabetes management program.


About Envolve, Inc.®

Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Envolve unifies specialty pharmacyPBMvisiondental24/7 nurse advice services, diabetes management, MSO solutions, and more. For more information, please visit our website www.envolvehealth.com or contact us at mediainquiries@envolvehealth.com.


[1] Envolve Pharmacy Solutions Medicare outreach campaign consisting of a total of 2,609 patients who spoke with a pharmacist who used motivational interviewing techniques to elicit patient behavioral change in medication therapy.