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Automated pharmacy notifications can make the difference in advance of natural disasters

BY Brian Berk

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Automated pharmacy notifications can provide the necessary push to encourage patients with chronic conditions to refill medications prior to a forecasted natural disaster, according to new research conducted by the CVS Health Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The study also concluded public-private partnerships can facilitate timely pharmacy outreach as part of broader community-based natural disaster planning. 

"Emergency departments and medical responders can be overwhelmed by the number of people seeking medical care after a disaster simply because they ran out of their daily medications and couldn't reach a pharmacy due to impassable streets and business closures," said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response. "The number of people who need medications for chronic conditions continues to rise, and communities across the country need solutions that can help them stay healthy, even in a disaster situation. This study demonstrated how powerful public-private partnerships can be in providing solutions that can protect health for residents and whole communities."

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, had researchers compare medication fill rates of more than 2 million patients who were contacted by CVS Pharmacy in advance of a storm to a randomly assigned control group of patients of the same stores who received no outreach. The research revealed that those who received outreach prior to the storm were 9% more likely to refill their medications within the 48 hours after receiving the notification and before the storm impacted the region.

"Ensuring our patients have their medications available to them is one of our top priorities, and this research highlights how proactive outreach to patients before a natural disaster can encourage timely medication refills which may help ensure continuity of care and avoid adverse health events due to inadequate medication supply," said Kevin Hourican, EVP, Pharmacy Services and Supply Chain, CVS Health. "Operationally, we have the infrastructure in place at all of our more than 9,600 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide to facilitate this type of proactive outreach in advance of forecasted weather events."

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CVS encourages flu shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week

BY Brian Berk

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — It’s not too late to get a flu shot.

CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic are encouraging consumers to get their flu shot during the week of Dec. 4-10, which is The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Influenza Vaccination Week. Vaccination Week, established by the CDC in 2005, is intended to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated as the holiday season begins.

"National Influenza Vaccination Week is a great reminder that the flu virus doesn't take the holidays off and families should make sure they're protected by getting vaccinated," said Papatya Tankut, R.Ph., VP of pharmacy affairs at CVS Health. "CVS Pharmacy understands that families' schedules are packed with holiday to-dos this time of year, and that's why we make getting the flu shot convenient."

A CVS Health survey concluded that two in five Americans make multiple trips to get their entire household vaccinated. It also revealed that nearly two of every three employed Americans (64%) would still go to work even if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms.

"With many people choosing to go to work even when they're experiencing flu-like symptoms, it's vital to take all precautions necessary to avoid getting sick," said Angela Patterson, DNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, chief nurse practitioner officer at MinuteClinic. "Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu and the potentially serious effects of influenza infection."

The flu vaccine is considered a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, and is fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans. In addition, customers will receive a 20-percent off CVS Pharmacy Shopping Pass when they get a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic. Patients who receive a flu shot at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations inside select Target stores will receive a $5 Target GiftCard.

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Meijer names first non-family member as CEO

BY Gina Acosta

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rick Keyes, the president of Meijer, will become CEO on Jan. 1, the company announced Friday.

The announcement was made by Hank Meijer, who has held the role of CEO and will now serve as executive chairman of the Meijer board.

Traditionally, the role of Meijer president has been held by a non-family member, with the title of CEO through the years being held by Fred Meijer and Hank Meijer respectively. The decision to make an adjustment in titles is based on the company’s desire to align the roles more accurately with current responsibilities, the company said.

“We have witnessed Rick’s deep understanding and appreciation of our culture and his passion for the people who make Meijer a great company,” said Hank Meijer.  “His accomplishments throughout a 27-year career – and his leadership as president for more than a year now – give us tremendous confidence in the future as he assumes a new title that better reflects his responsibilities.”

Meijer has been privately owned and family operated since it was founded in 1934, and in keeping with the Meijer family’s ongoing significant involvement, Executive Chairman Hank Meijer will work closely with CEO Rick Keyes, the company said. Doug Meijer and Mark Meijer will also stay actively involved through their roles as directors of Meijer Inc.

All new roles will become effective Jan. 1.

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