NEW YORK, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) has launched a suite of online tools that empower members to help protect themselves against certain unnecessary health risks. The new online safety net that alerts members taking maintenance medications of gaps in care that could harm their health and enables them to take action to help close those gaps, was announced today at Medco's Best Practices Workshop, an annual client conference, in New York City. These online safety features are available now for any of Medco's more than 65 million members.
"Health plan payors are well aware of the serious and often costly health consequences from drug interactions and gaps in care that can result in hospitalizations for their members. Medco's advanced online tools are real-time intervention safety nets that put the power to prevent avoidable medication risks into the hands of the member," said Tom Feitel, Medco's chief web officer. "By encouraging their members to register online, our clients are taking an important step in improving medication safety and reducing both plan and member costs."
The online safety net is in effect whether prescriptions are being filled at Medco's mail service pharmacy or through a retail pharmacy. It provides members who register at www.medco.com with tools that alert and educate them about medication safety and adherence risks and offers 24/7 access to Medco Specialist Pharmacists who can answer questions or discuss any medication issues.
The new online closing gaps in care tool identifies specific adherence-related problems, as well as cases where essential medications may be missing for members dealing with chronic diseases. To help improve adherence, members are alerted when they are running low on their medication or have missed a refill. When a drug may be missing that medical guidelines indicate should be part of their treatment regimen, the tool alerts the member about the gap in care and educates them about potential risks, and provides information to print and share with their physician. The member may also enter a phone number and receive a call back from a specialist pharmacist to answer any questions or concerns.
In the first four months of the pilot program, members have closed over 100,000 gaps in care with this new online feature - preventing many potential medication complications and unnecessary healthcare costs. It is estimated that non-adherence costs at least $300 billion annually and is responsible for 33 to 69 percent of medication-related hospital admissions.
Two chronic conditions where high levels of non-adherence are noted include diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association estimates that of the more than 18 million people in America who are diagnosed with diabetes, less than two percent of adults are performing the full recommended level of care. Also, of the millions of Americans with high blood pressure, only one-in-four has it under control with more than 12 percent of health care spending tied to hypertension.
To that end, Medco clients can receive a "Gaps in Care Protection Report" that analyzes how many of their members on maintenance medications are already registered and therefore protected with automatic safety alerts. The report also provides insight into estimated avoidable healthcare costs for each additional adherence gap in care closed, helping payors assess their potential to contain overall healthcare costs.
Another important feature of the online safety net is the Rx-OTC Drug Interaction Checker -- the only e-tool of its kind to automatically warn members about potentially dangerous interactions between over-the-counter (OTC) products and the prescription drugs they are taking. Any OTC drug, supplement or vitamin purchased through the Medco Health Store is checked against the member's prescription drug claims on file, whether from mail or retail. If a safety problem is identified, the member is alerted about the potential danger before the purchase is made. Over 30 billion combinations of possibly harmful interactions are checked through this powerful drug utilization review system. The Medco Health Store is a convenient and affordable online drugstore that is available to the general public.
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is pioneering the world's most advanced pharmacy® and its clinical research and innovations are part of Medco making medicine smarter™ for approximately 65 million members.
With more than 20,000 employees dedicated to improving member health and reducing costs for a wide range of public and private sector clients, and 2009 revenues of nearly $60 billion, Medco ranks 35th on the Fortune 500 list and is named among the world's most innovative, most admired and most trustworthy companies.
For more information, go to http://www.medcohealth.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the risks and uncertainties that affect our business, particularly those mentioned in the Risk Factors section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.