Automated Patient Notifications Help Mom Take Her Meds
In the United States, patients failing to take their medicines or taking them improperly is estimated to result in more than $150 billion in unnecessary healthcare costs every year. And the problem is escalating due to the rising number of older patients, the number of prescriptions each of them takes, and a growing shortage of pharmacists.
To help combat this, customer care software and services provider Varolii today launched Varolii Adherence Outreach, a fully managed, on-demand patient notification service that helps retail, mail-order, and specialty pharmacies improve prescription medication adherence. The fully hosted solution, which combines fully integrated text-to-speech and digitally recorded real voices, allows pharmacies to deliver automated communications to customers via the phone, text message, or email.
Varolii Adherence Outreach incorporates patient authentication to ensure privacy and predictive analytics to identify the most appropriate patients, as well as the best timing, delivery, and message for each one. In addition, the solution comes with a preconfigured vocabulary of thousands of medicine names and prescription terms built in.
The types of messages that can be conveyed include:
- A welcome to new patients;
- A variety of personalized reminders, including refills, tardy notifications, renewals, auto-fills, and prescriptions ready for pick-up;
- Significant news, such as changes to drug formulas or the availability of generic substitutions;
- Time-sensitive information, such as medication recalls, dosage adjustments, and changes in medication availability;
- Surveys to identify which patients are likely to stop taking their medications, help pharmacists understand why they aren’t taking their medications, and then effectively triage to the appropriate resources to get them back on track;
- Questionnaires to find missing contact information for patients and update pharmacy records; and
- Contact with patients who are identified as "lost to follow up" to re-engage and win them back.
The solution "covers a whole series of conversations that pharmacists can have with their customers," says Robin Rees, a Varolii spokesperson, and contains "prerecorded dialogue that goes through the different branches of the menu tree, based on the responses given."
According to Rees, for pharmacists to talk to each patient "is very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive." In most cases, the pharmacist makes these phone calls personally, and "what ends up happening is that not all patients who could benefit from such a call get contacted," she says.
Adherence Outreach helps pharmacies reach more patients while avoiding the exorbitant time and money a traditional communications approach would require. The solution also enables pharmacies to improve operational metrics, optimize pharmacist time, and even generate more revenue from non-pharmacy sales due to increased customer visits.
Pharmacies that have already begun using Varolii Adherence Outreach have seen an overall 10-20 percent increase in refill efficiency for treated therapeutic classes (and more than 100 percent in some of them), an 18 percent enrollment lift into auto-fill programs, and a doubling of prescription refill rates among patients enrolled in the program versus those who were not.
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