PHARMACY

HealthPrize Technologies employs gaming dynamics to drive medication adherence results

BY Michael Johnsen

NORWALK, Conn. — HealthPrize Technologies on Tuesday reported that its medication adherence solution helped increase mean prescription fill rates by 54% and materially decreased the mean interval between refills for one group of diabetic patients by 39%. The results were derived from a number of patient support programs conducted across a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, acne and asthma/COPD.  
 
HealthPrize's unique online and mobile platform leverages gaming dynamics, behavioral economics, rewards and education to motivate patients to engage with medical educational content and to adhere to their prescribed medications. The HealthPrize platform also verifies prescription fills for all engaged patients via a proprietary process that allows for real-time, accurate refill verification and adherence tracking. 
 
"If you look at our engagement rates as compared to social media sites, the numbers are impressive," stated HealthPrize CEO Tom Kottler. "According to Comscore, 77% of Facebook members are active on a monthly basis; our hypertension patients were at 72%. The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on their site per month; our Diabetes 2 group spent an average of 43 minutes monthly on web or mobile with HealthPrize, and across all programs the average user spent almost 37 minutes engaged with the platform each month."
 
Additionally, each week an average of 55% percent of patients also completed a new educational quiz and a market research survey, leading to rich data sets and valuable insights.
 
"We built our platform based on best practices leveraging gamification to maximize engagement and adherence within strict pharmaceutical industry regulations, and patients have responded fervently," said John Ragland, chief of product and user experience at HealthPrize. "We have yet to see results in the marketplace that match ours."
 

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PHARMACY

CDC to clinicians: Antivirals are being underutilized this flu season

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA – Halfway through the 2014-15 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that antiviral medications are being underutilized. "If you get them early, they could keep you out of the hospital and might even save your life," CDC director Tom Frieden told reporters Friday. "There's a lot of flu out there now and there's more to come," he said. "Key flu indicators suggest that this year is shaping up to be a bad one, particularly for people 65 and older."
 
The CDC estimates that only 1-in-5 high-risk patients, who should be prescribed an antiviral this year, are actually getting an antiviral. 
 
The predominant flu bug this year is an H3N2 strain, which typically generates more significant seasons with more severe symptoms. "H3N2 is a nastier flu virus than the other flu viruses and years that have H3N2 predominance tend to have more hospitalizations, and sadly, more deaths," Frieden said. Currently, the hospitalization rate for seniors was up to 92 per 100,000 and rising. The hospitilazation peak for seniors in the last season when H3N2 was predominant was 183 per 100,000. 
 
"CDC has recommended the use of antiviral drugs as an adjunct to vaccination," Frieden said. "They're the only medicines that can specifically treat influenza illness, and in the context of an H3N2 predominant season with a less effective vaccine, treatment with anti-flu drugs is even more important than usual."
 

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Tops Friendly Markets to close 27 pharmacies

BY Antoinette Alexander

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets, a grocer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, is closing pharmacy departments in 27 of its 162 locations this month and transferring pharmacy prescriptions and inventory to five CVS/Pharmacy and 22 Rite Aid locations near each affected store.

The transaction accounts for less than 20% of the company’s prescription volume, and Tops stated that it will continue to serve customers from 52 pharmacy locations within its network of stores and will include new pharmacies in selected supermarkets as part of the company’s growth and expansion.

“Tops does not have a one size fits all approach to our stores, which means our neighborhood locations vary greatly by size and offering,” stated Frank Curci, Tops’ chairman, president and CEO. “Space inside some of our supermarkets is at a premium and some of our locations are not filling enough prescriptions to make the most efficient use of our resources. A business decision was made to close select pharmacy departments.”

In the available pharmacy spaces, Tops will continue expanding its offerings in health and beauty products, fresh food, deli and other product areas.

“This transition allows us to better focus on what Tops does best: providing our customers with the widest selection of what they want most, at the price that gives them the most value,” Curci added. “Across our stores, customers tell us they love and want more options that busy, healthy families need today like fresh produce, prepared foods, natural and organics, and other health and wellness options. We are committed to Monroe County and the greater Rochester area, and this transition will allow us to reinvest back into our stores and give customers more of what they want from Tops.”
 

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