Today’s Solutions: January 30, 2023

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, affecting 45% of the population. That’s 133 million Americans. And $3.5 trillion in annual healthcare costs. Plenty of programs, products, and health startups are aimed at lowering the rates of chronic disease—and now CVS Health is hoping to tackle the issue where Americans least expect it: while shopping for toothpaste and toilet paper. The company is currently testing a retail concept dubbed HealthHub. It’s a new kind of healthcare destination that blends the convenience of the pharmacy chain with the ease and familiarity of a neighborhood community center. It’s piloting three HealthHubs, all in Houston—a city with one of the highest rates of uninsured residents. The HealthHub locations might look like a normal CVS Health, but 20% of the store now offers a broader range of healthcare services, like one-on-one nutritionist counseling and workout classes. There are new product categories, including fitness products (like say, a yoga mat) and an expanded homeopathy category for sleep, anxiety, or memory improvement. In addition, it carries durable medical equipment (wheelchairs and monitors) and supplies for those suffering from conditions such as sleep apnea and diabetes. These are all items CVS Health has never carried before. Many of them feature an overhead digital screen that highlights the product’s use and efficacy. For those who want to learn more, “learning tables” display multiple iPads where they can discover more about their healthcare needs. By delivering more services–which address both the medical contributors of a condition as well as social determinants–CVS Health can help people manage the small daily decisions. Those, in turn, add to up a larger influence on managing chronic disease. Whether it’ll work has yet to be seen, but it does represent a new innovative approach to bringing health services to people with little access to quality health care.

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