Ginger, a virtual behavioral health care system, has teamed up with Capsule, the nation’s largest independent digital pharmacy, to give members access to same-day mental health medication delivery.
The medication management partnership is designed to improve convenience and safety for Ginger’s members, who previously had to go to a brick-and-mortar pharmacy or use their health plan’s mail-order offerings, if available, to access medication.
“This partnership with Capsule helps to alleviate [common] concerns and improve the speed at which members can receive their medications,” Ginger Director of Psychiatry Jonathan Kole told Behavioral Health Business in an email. “Additionally, Ginger will be armed with a wealth of data and insight to help improve the management of medications, and even to transition members off when appropriate.”
Based in San Francisco, Ginger partners with employers, health plans and other groups to deliver on-demand behavioral health coaching, therapy and psychiatry to members via text and video. Millions of people nationwide have access to the app.
Meanwhile, Capsule is using technology to revamp the pharmacy experience. It’s currently available in New York City, Austin, Chicago, Boston and Minneapolis, and the company has plans to continue expanding across the country throughout 2021.
The new partnership comes amid unprecedented demand for mental health services due to the coronavirus: Ginger saw a 335% uptick in members seeking therapy and psychiatric support in January 2021 compared to pre-COVID-19 averages. On top of that, the volume of medications prescribed by Ginger psychiatrists spiked six times in 2020 compared to 2019.
Ginger members have prescriptions for a variety of mental health medications, from traditional antidepressants to more complex mood stabilizing drugs, Kole said. However, the company does not prescribe drugs categorized as controlled substances.
By teaming up with Capsule, Ginger aims to improve upon the behavioral health care process, especially when it comes to medication, which can lead to adverse health and financial outcomes when improperly managed. The goal is to reduce barriers to prescription adherence and decrease employer spending while also improving members’ overall health outcomes.
After seeing a Ginger psychiatrist, members in select markets will have the option to fill their prescriptions through Capsule with free home delivery. At the same time, Ginger’s clinicians will be able to use Capsule’s platform to glean data on medication fill rates, associated adverse events and other factors relevant to behavioral health medication management.
“This initiative builds on our comprehensive approach to medication management, which brings together a team of behavioral health coaches, therapists and psychiatrists who work together to prescribe medications, support adherence and transition members off of medications when appropriate,” Kole said.
Not every Ginger member will have access the free service just yet.
Because Capsule currently lacks national scale, Ginger’s new same-day medication delivery option is currently only available to members in the metro areas where Capsule operates. However, members in additional regions will gain access to the service in the future, according to Kole.
“While we can’t share [specifics] just yet, we’ll be expanding in major markets with Capsule over the coming weeks and months,” Kole said. “In addition, Ginger will be exploring additional nationwide partnerships to support integrated medication management with other providers to best support the needs of our members.”