PHARMACY

Big Y, En-Vision America partner on adherence tool for visually impaired

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Big Y pharmacies and En-Vision America have recently partnered on a pair of novel programs designed to improve compliance among seniors with impaired vision. 

"The pharmacists are engaging with all patients and making them aware of this new service," Jan Winn, Big Y director of pharmacy, HABC and GM, shared with DSN. "The larger print labels are a big hit with the ‘babyboom’ generation."

For elderly patients, Big Y is offering En-Vision America’s ScripView, which features large-print medicine labels, and ScripTalk, which provides audio instructions regarding their medicines. 

ScripView contains all the same information as a medicines’s traditional label, but in large print for those with low vision. 

The ScripTalk label is embedded with a microchip that, when paired with a small hand-held reader that is free to the patient, reads the prescription instructions aloud, including patient name, drug name and instructions and pharmacy contact information.

“These labels give patients independence," stated Anna McClure, director of marketing at En-Vision America. “We are so excited to work with innovative pharmacies across the country that are providing accessible prescriptions to their patients. There are stories all the time of terrible mix-ups and mistakes. Our goal is to ensure it never happens again.”  

“Big Y is proud to provide this new service to our vision–impaired customers,” commented Nicole Schneider, senior manager of pharmacy operations. “We are constantly seeking new ways to enhance our customers’ pharmacy experience and this is just one simple way we can help our customers remain safe when taking their prescription medications.”

 

 

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PHARMACY

ACOs’ readiness to achieve cost, quality goals in medication use mixed, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The ability of accountable care organizations to promote optimal use of medications has not yet been fully developed, according to a new study.

The study, published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, received responses from 46 ACOs representing physicians, hospitals, providers and health plans. The National Pharmaceutical Council, the American Medical Group Association and healthcare company Premier conducted the study, publishing it in the January 2014 issue of the journal. ACOs, in which groups of healthcare providers collaborate in patient care, have been touted as a way to improve the quality of care and reduce costs.

According to the study, while ACOs showed a strong ability to transmit prescriptions electronically, integrate medical and pharmacy data into a single database and offer formularies that encourage generic drugs when appropriate, some areas that need improvement include notifying physicians when prescriptions have been filled, protocols to avoid medication duplication and polypharmacy and quantify the cost offsets of medication use and demonstrate the value of appropriate medication use.

"We’ve long known that optimal use of medications can be an effective tool in meeting the goals of managing costs and improving quality," NPC chief science officer and study author Robert Dubois said. "We set out to determine whether ACOs are poised to maximize the value of medications to achieve those goals. What we found was that ACOs have not yet achieved this integral and critical component of care."

Another contributing author, Premier managing principal of pharmacy consulting and senior director of medication management Marv Feldman, said, "For ACOs to reach their full potential, the various moving parts of healthcare delivery — primary care, hospital care, home care, chronic condition management and medication use — will have to be used in concert."

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Diabetes patients using online portal showed better cholesterol drug adherence, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

OAKLAND, Calif. — Diabetic users of an online patient portfolio for medication refills improved their adherence to cholesterol-lowering medications and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California San Francisco Medical School followed 17,760 diabetic patients with an average age of 62 years who received care from Kaiser Permanente in northern California between the beginning of 2006 and the end of 2010. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal Medical Care.

All the patients were registered users of My Health Manager, Kaiser Permanente’s personal health record and had been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications. The researchers divided them into three groups based on their use of the portal to order refills of the medications, including a control group that never used the online refill function; occasional users of it who requested refills at least once; and exclusive users who requested all their refills through the portal. Among the exclusive users, nonadherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined by 6% among the exclusive users.

"Our study showed that when patients used online prescription refills, it can improve adherence and health outcomes," Kaiser Permanente Division of Research scientist Andrew Karter said, noting that adherence is among the ‘hardest things for providers to influence.’ "On top of those benefits, we know that online refill systems increase the efficiency of pharmacy operations and provide more convenience for patients."

 

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