WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Looking to reinvent the specialty patient experience, CVS Caremark has announced that its Specialty Connect prescription services program is now available at all CVS/pharmacy locations.
The program leverages CVS Caremark's retail and specialty pharmacy resources to offer patients greater choice and flexibility in how they access their specialty medications, while providing centralized clinical support.
Specialty medications treat complex conditions, including hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, oncology and rheumatoid arthritis, and often require special handling, storage and administration. Historically, patients faced three key challenges when filling a new prescription for a specialty medication: submitting the prescription, having easy access to centralized expert clinical and benefits support, and navigating the logistics involved in receiving the drug. For example, as many as one-quarter of patients who tried to fill a specialty prescription at a traditional retail pharmacy faced barriers. These complications often resulted in delayed or abandoned treatment and added to the confusion that patients already face when managing a new or chronic condition.
With Specialty Connect patients have a new option to bring their specialty prescriptions to any CVS/pharmacy location, as a complement to existing specialty pharmacy processes. After initiating their prescriptions, patients receive insurance guidance and clinical support by phone from a team of specialty pharmacy experts, trained in each therapeutic area, who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The program also is designed to make it easy for patients to get their specialty drugs, whether they choose between in-store pickup at any of the 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide or receive their medications via mail service delivery.
"Specialty Connect helps specialty patients with these critical therapies by helping to eliminate common challenges they had often faced and by offering them flexibility and choice," stated Alan Lotvin, EVP of specialty pharmacy for CVS Caremark. "The program makes it easier and more convenient for patients to submit and receive their specialty prescriptions either through CVS/pharmacy or by mail. What's more, it increases medication adherence, improves outcomes and lowers overall health care costs for specialty patients and payors."
According to the company, Specialty Connect has demonstrated high levels of patient satisfaction as well as improved adherence for specialty pharmacy patients. In fact, pilot program results demonstrated a 13-percentage point increase (from 66% to 79%) in patients who were optimally adherent to their medication. Early program results also show that the program is improving upon the patient experience and reducing traditional barriers to getting started on medication, with 97% of patients successfully starting on therapy after only their first interaction at a CVS/pharmacy store. In addition, more than half of patients, many of whom were existing mail service pharmacy customers, chose to pick up their specialty medications at CVS/pharmacy.
CVS Caremark was awarded the 2014 Rx Benefit Innovation Award by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute for the Specialty Connect program.