MedStar Health's pilot program for prescribed drugs contributed to an approximately 30-percentage-point increase in medication adherence rates that has health system officials considering expanding the program.
A 2012 research review published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that lack of medication adherence contributes to approximately 125,000 deaths annually and accounts for at least 10 percent of hospitalizations that occur in a given year. The review estimated that poor medication adherence costs the U.S. health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion annually, but experts say addressing the issue can be complicated because there are various reasons why patients might not take medications as prescribed.
MedStar Health in 2014 partnered with CVS Health to tackle the problem and improve medication adherence among its patients.
Through the partnership, MedStar linked its electronic health records to certain CVS locations and developed a pilot program in which the pharmacy pre-packages and labels patients' medications in multi-dose packs. According to the Washington Business Journal, MedStar was the first health system in the United States to deploy CVS' multi-dose packs.
Pilot helps improve medication adherence
The pilot was launched at 10 primary care offices, and MedStar officials say those practices saw medication compliance improve from 60 percent to more than 90 percent among patients taking at least six drugs daily.
Steve Evans, EVP for medical affairs and CMO at MedStar Health, called the improvements "monstrous." He said, "From our perspective it's a huge impact for the patients, it doesn't cost them anymore, it's easy, it's mailed to them or they can pick it up ... this is just a better way to deliver medicines to people who have to be on a lot of meds."
Evans declined to share estimated savings from the program, but said MedStar plans to expand the pilot to another 300 primary care providers (Reed, Washington Business Journal, 5/8).
How to design and implement a clockwork bedside medication delivery program
Lindsay Conway, Pharmacy Executive Forum
Bedside medication delivery programs (a.k.a. med-to-bed programs) are an increasingly popular strategy for reducing re-admissions, improving care continuity, and ensuring patients are able to access their medications. However, many pharmacy leaders report challenges with gaining support from key stakeholders, streamlining communications between unit staff and the pharmacy, and ensuring patients and families are aware of the service.
To help pharmacy leaders design and implement a successful bedside medication delivery program, or improve an existing program, this webconference will present tactics on how to develop the business case, identify key stakeholders and secure their support, design seamless processes for communication and coordination, and market the program to patients and families.