Making it Easier to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease

02.02.17

We know that regular health screenings and proper medication adherence are vital to preventing and managing cardiovascular disease, and can go a long way toward preventing other chronic conditions and improving outcomes for those who have already been diagnosed.

While these behaviors are effective, they aren’t always easy: it takes ongoing effort and coordination from both patients and providers, including pharmacists.  

According to a new study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital and CVS Caremark, juggling multiple doctors and medications often results in patient confusion and difficulty keeping care instructions and medications straight.

Many patients will readily admit that they do a better job of taking care of themselves when they receive reminders and motivational messages from their health care providers.

In a recent survey, 83 percent of people say they don’t always do what their doctors tell them, and only 5 percent of surveyed doctors would give their patients an “A” grade for following treatment plans.1 However, nearly 40 percent of patients say they would follow their doctor’s orders if they received some sort of reminder between visits either by text message, email, or voicemail.2

Consider Susan, a fictional patient whose story is an amalgamation of what millions of chronic disease patients in the U.S. experience each year. Susan was diagnosed with high cholesterol and heart disease just before turning 50, and struggles to manage medication, lifestyle and treatment regimens her doctor prescribed. Like other individuals with chronic conditions, she not only faces a higher likelihood of medical complications, but she pays high treatment costs as well.

Pharmacists Play an Important Role

The good news for Susan and others like her is that with proper medication management and routine preventive care – easily accessible at their neighborhood pharmacy – they can keep their chronic diseases in check and stay healthier longer

Pharmacists, thanks to their accessibility and frequent interaction with patients, are in a unique position to assist. They help coordinate care with their other health providers, identify red flags early on, and offer solutions such as prescription refill reminders to encourage patients with chronic conditions to stay adherent to their medication and treatment plans,3 which not only improves health but saves money. Research has shown that patients with chronic conditions who receive support from pharmacists are more likely to reach their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol goals.4

Helping Patients Manage Their Health

To help patients face the challenges associated with managing chronic conditions, CVS Health offers accessible and convenient support services:

  • Pharmacy Advisor helps plan members stay on track with their medications through pharmacist-led counseling available via phone or face-to-face in a CVS Pharmacy.

  • MinuteClinic offers patients a suite of health and wellness services designed to help them manage their conditions and improve their health, including screenings and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

  • MedRemind is a CVS Pharmacy mobile app feature that helps patients stay on track with their medication schedules by enabling them to customize medication reminders. In addition, patients can elect to send notifications to caregivers when a dose is missed. It also includes text reminders and the ability to receive reminders on the Apple watch.

To learn more about our chronic disease prevention and management strategies, visit our Health Care Delivery & Innovation information center.

1 https://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/2016/12/better-outcomes-less-cost-will-follow-engaged-patients
2 https://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/2016/12/better-outcomes-less-cost-will-follow-engaged-patients
3 http://www.pharmacytoday.org/article/S1042-0991(15)31968-X/fulltext
4 http://annals.org/aim/article/2517407/pharmacist-led-chronic-disease-management-systematic-review-effectiveness-harms-compared