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CVS Health Insights Report tackles issue of medication adherence
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health Research Institute published Thursday a new Insights Report that reviews the company's key research findings on medication adherence and lays out its goal to increase adherence by 5% to 15% through new interventions by 2017.
For the past several years, the CVS Health Research Institute has been focused on building the body of scientific knowledge available related to medication adherence and, through various research collaborations, has published or presented more than 50 adherence-focused papers in peer-reviewed journals and at various clinical conferences. The Insights Report, entitled, "Adherence: why it's so hard and what we can do about it," describes complex adherence challenges and actions that can make adherence easier while helping to lower overall costs.
"The reasons why people don't take their medications for chronic conditions as prescribed by their health care provider are very personal and complex," stated William Shrank, chief scientific officer of CVS Health. "Over the past several years CVS Health has invested in research to help the industry better understand medication non-adherence. Our goal now is to apply this knowledge and develop new interventions that will enable us to improve adherence for the patients we support."
The new Insights publication focuses on four areas of CVS Health medication adherence research to date, serving as a resource illustrating the impact of the issue of medication adherence on the health care system. In each section, the report summarizes relevant research and highlights programs and initiatives designed to address the identified issues. The four areas include:
• Adherence starts when the prescription is written: How to reduce primary non-adherence, those instances when the patient does not pick up their first fill for a prescription.
• Pharmacist counseling and support can make a difference: The report details the innovations implemented by CVS Health to enable effective counseling at its retail pharmacies.
• The hard work of adherence takes place at home: How best to support patients in their day-to-day medication regimens based on their individual needs and barriers.
• The role pharmacy benefit plan designs play in supporting adherence: Strategic plan design can help by reducing barriers such as cost, medication complexity and forgetfulness.
"We are actively piloting and testing a number of interventions to help make it easier for our patients to be more adherent," added Shrank. "For example, we know through our research that it is difficult for patients to be optimally adherent when they have numerous health care providers, take multiple medications with different dosing regimens, and make several trips a month to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. As a result we are actively engaged in a variety of pilots to test prescription synchronization programs and innovative medication labeling and packaging."