“Get well soon!” It’s a lovely sentiment. No doubt it has brought a smile to the face of many sufferers (not to mention millions of dollars into the pockets of Hallmark cards!). But for much of our population, “wellness” is a concept that is becoming more and more elusive. Chronic diseases are on the rise. Healthcare costs are soaring but do not appear to be making substantial improvements in our nation’s health. Fixing our system isn’t simple. A major ingredient, however, in the solution is a motivated, empowered and informed patient. And pharmacists across the country are stepping up to help this happen.
One great tool now available to help pharmacies get timely and helpful information to their patients is PrescribeWellness. This program offers “wellness” to both PHARMACIES and to PATIENTS by improving adherence and strengthening the pharmacy relationship with their patients. It was an honor and privilege to be able to speak with Tony Thuyen, the Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, at PrescribeWellness.
1. Could you tell us a little about how Prescribe Wellness began? What prompted the start of this company?
PrescribeWellness was founded on a mission to develop new solutions to improve health and reduce healthcare costs in America. It is alarming that over 160 Million Americans have at least one chronic disease. Diabetes, Obesity and related diseases continue to grow at epidemic numbers. Healthcare costs in America per capita are double the next closest nation in the world yet we are not in the top 50 nations based on the health of our population. Over 70% of healthcare costs are related to preventable chronic disease. It’s a crime that in the age of WebMD, free support systems and quality information that health literacy, denial, hopelessness and lack of self-efficacy are among leading causes of chronic disease.
PrescribeWellness designs and implements solutions to educate motivate and drive behavioral change necessary to improve health in America. We focus on 4 key areas of preventive healthcare; 1) Population Health initiatives including increasing screenings, immunizations, other HEDIS and STAR standards. 2) Medication Adherence more than just forgetfulness our solutions focus on 7 leading causes of lack of adherence. 3) Chronic Disease management provide patients the digital support necessary to reduce hospitalizations and other improved outcomes. 4) Transitional Care, our solutions reduce preventable re-admissions through more effective patient engagement and the facilitation of collaboration between providers along the continuum of care.
To improve health in America we need leaders in every community. Retail pharmacies across America are reinventing their role from a safe dispensary to be champions for wellness in their respective communities. Retail pharmacy is in the best position to lead change through preventive healthcare activities for three primary reasons. First, they are our communities most accessible healthcare professionals, over 250Million Americans walk into one of over 60,000 retail pharmacy locations each week. Second, Pharmacists are among Americans most trusted professions in our lives (Gallup poll, 2010, 2011, 2012) and third they have the training and skills necessary to educate and motivate their local patient population. We are empowering retail pharmacies with the tools necessary to be their community champion and leader of wellness.
2. Explain for my readers how exactly the Prescribe Wellness system works to improve engagement with retail pharmacy patients?
Ask a retail pharmacist or other healthcare professional; “If you had unlimited time to talk educate and motivate your patients what would you say to them? Think about your non-compliant patients, your hypertensive patients, your diabetics: how often would you talk to them and what would you tell them?”
PrescribeWellness has designed and deployed proven communications in a patient’s language of choice, channel of choice to provide that support in an automated fashion. PW establishes a secure integration to the pharmacy software systems; segments the patient population and delivers patients the right message, though the right channel at the right time.
“My patients want to hear from me, not a computer” I think it is fair to say that most of America dislikes receiving robotic communications. Listen rates on political broadcast messages are less than 3%. The challenge in automated digital communications is how do you build loyalty with a solution on the surface is impersonal? PW is a thought leader in how to strengthen relationships, build loyalty, and beyond satisfaction build advocacy.
Our high tech- high touch approach starts with assuring that all communications are timely and relevant to the patients’ individual needs. A common mistake is to only communicate to your patients when you need something from them. The right content is always designed around what’s in it for the patient. Another key element of the solution is to respect their preferences, allow patients to choose, voice, text, e-mail or other digital channels. When in doubt use the “Voice of Authority” Our proprietary method of using messages prerecorded in the voice of the pharmacist drives a response far greater that other channels. The Pharmacist Voice combined with the right content can convey the care concern, empathy, and urgency necessary to increase response and loyalty.
3. How exactly does a pharmacy incorporate this system into their daily operation? What exactly is required to enroll patients in this program?
Pharmacy first needs to define their goals; improve adherence, increase immunizations, expand cognitive services, MTM, diabetic counseling etc. Once defined, PW will recommend a series of communications necessary to accomplish these objectives. The Pharmacist will approve messages, record their voice and allow for a secure integration to their software system. Communications are automated daily as needed.
4. There is a lot of concern in pharmacy, as everywhere in Healthcare, with patient privacy and confidentiality (e.g. HIPAA). Is Prescribe Wellness HIPAA compliant and how do you protect the privacy of patient medical information?
Privacy and protection of healthcare data is a top priority for PrescribeWellness. Our legal team assures a full understanding of the latest HIPAA, HITECH, DNC, Privacy and other applicable legislation. The Company executes a Business Associates Agreement and establishes an encrypted and secure integration using sFTP with all data remaining behind a firewall. No PHI is ever stored locally.
5. What makes Prescribe Wellness different than other systems which seek to remind patients about refills?
Lots of solutions address cognitive challenges to adherence, however depending on the study, forgetfulness is sixth or seventh reason why people don’t take their meds as prescribed. PW is the only solution designed to address all of the reasons including health literacy, denial, lack of motivation, fear of side effects, actual side effects, cost as well as forgetfulness.
6. Obviously cost will be a concern for pharmacy owners who care about patient wellness, but also have to remain profitable. Can you tell us about the cost of enrolling in your program(s)?
Perhaps the greatest benefit of implementing the PW solution is increasing profitability through increased adherence; loyalty and the cross sell of non- dispensing products and services. PW helps the pharmacy identify their most valuable relationships, i.e. certain meds, certain disease states etc.
The pharmacy is asked to invest less than $2.00 a year in their most important relationships. We then implement a digital engagement solution designed to increase average fills from 7 to 9, to increase immunizations, paid cognitive services, DME and other products. We turn a $2 investment into $20, sometimes $50 or more.
7. Thanks for sharing these things with us. If my readers want to learn more about Prescribe Wellness, where can they go for more information?
Please visit http://prescribewellness.com/organizations/pharmacy/ or call us at 949-313-7615.
Here’s a quick video about PrescribeWellness to help you learn more about this solution which benefits both Pharmacies and Patients alike:
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