CVS Health and HHS Study Finds Proactive Pharmacy-based Outreach Helps Patients Access Needed Medications during a Natural Disaster

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Dec. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New research by the CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), published online today in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that automated pharmacy notifications encourage patients with chronic conditions to refill medications prior to a forecasted natural disaster. The study also affirms that public-private partnerships can facilitate timely pharmacy outreach as part of broader community-based natural disaster planning. CVS Pharmacy is expanding this practice, as part of its natural disaster response operations, to help encourage patients to have an adequate supply of medication on hand when preparing for natural disasters, including hurricanes and blizzards.

"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 (ASPR). "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."

Researchers compared the medication fill rates of more than two 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 store locations were selected based on storm forecast data provided by ASPR. The study found that those who received outreach prior to the storm were nine percent 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, Executive Vice President, 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."

When forecasted storms have the potential to disrupt community infrastructure, CVS Pharmacy can reach out to patients with maintenance medications for chronic conditions who live in impacted areas, and who have opted into CVS Pharmacy's automated notification programs. Patients may receive automated phone calls, text messages, and mobile app notifications letting them know when their prescription is ready to be picked up, reminding them that their prescription is ready to be refilled, and informing patients where they can pick up their medications during emergency situations, including the availability of mobile pharmacies that may be deployed during natural disasters. These automated messages offer added convenience for patients and can help them be more adherent to their prescription medications.

Added Hourican, "Our digital notification tools can also assist patients following a severe weather event or natural disaster by notifying patients of store closures and suggesting alternate locations to pick up their prescription medications."

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,600 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 80 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at

Media Contacts

Christina Beckerman
CVS Health
(401) 770-8868

Amy Lanctot
CVS Health
(401) 770-2931

Logo -