Imagine that you are diagnosed with a rare or complex condition requiring treatment with a specialty medication, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis or cancer. You fill your medications and begin taking them as prescribed. Soon, you start experiencing unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, and think about stopping the medication.
For many patients on specialty therapies, this is all too common. In specialty pharmacy, patients may struggle to start or refill their therapy or have questions about laboratory monitoring and other aspects of their care. In addition, many of the drugs have higher rates of side effects and complications, which can cause a patient to stop taking their medication altogether. Medication non-adherence can negatively impact a patient’s disease prognosis and overall health outcomes.
Now imagine that when you start taking a medication you receive a message on your mobile phone letting you know that some symptoms are typical with the medication and support is just a tap away. For our CVS Specialty patients, this type of on-demand care is now available via the mobile app or CVS Specialty website.
How our secure messaging works
Powering this capability is a proprietary, company-built tool loaded with therapy and indication-specific clinical information. Patients opt-in and choose to receive personalized message alerts via their mobile phone asking if they are experiencing a certain side effect that is common with their prescribed medication. This message is timed for the day when, based on clinical trial data, the drug’s label and feedback from the many thousands of patients we serve, a patient is most likely to experience a specific side effect. The message also includes a link to ask a medication-related question.
At that point, the patient and a clinician can move into a secure messaging exchange in real-time via mobile device or website, or take that conversation by phone. Whether the interaction is digital or by phone, a specialty therapy expert clinician is on the other end, helping that patient work through whatever they are experiencing and making recommendations to help best address their health care needs at a time they need it most.
Support at a critical time in care
This capability was piloted in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia; for those who enrolled, up to 30 percent more patients achieved optimal medication adherence. Based on those results, this advanced adherence offering is now available to nearly all of our CVS Specialty patients with similar results demonstrated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.
We are also seeing that patients prefer digital communication channels, with 80 percent of them engaged in the messaging programs. As research shows, better engagement and medication adherence can help improve clinical outcomes and reduce overall health care costs. By enabling this highly personalized, secure platform, we are able to connect with a patient during a critical time in their care - in between doctor’s visits, when they are thinking about their health and are more receptive to coaching - and offer support and/or clinical solutions.
Easy-to-access disease and medication resources
In addition to personalized out-bound messages, patients can use the CVS Specialty app or website to ask about a variety of topics, including medication side effects, disease-related questions or the order status for their medication. The CVS Specialty mobile app can be used to access condition-specific educational materials, request lab order refills and receive medication refill reminders.
Altogether, these digital solutions help empower patients to stay on top of their care and better adhere to their therapeutic regimen and, when they experience an issue, access an easy-to-use, convenient platform that puts potential solutions at their fingertips.