CVS Caremark employs strategies to improve adherence among heart failure patients to help avoid re-hospitalization


WOONSOCKET, R.I. A CVS Caremark study has found that non-adherent heart failure patients are nearly twice as likely to be re-hospitalized within a year; however, strategies employed at CVS Caremark to improve adherence have proven benefits for both patients and payers, the company stated.

According to the findings, released on Tuesday, nearly half of patients hospitalized for heart failure may not be adherent to recommended drug therapies, significantly boosting their risk for subsequent hospitalization within 12 months. The study found that among those patients who were non-adherent to drug therapy, average subsequent hospitalizations per patient in a 12-month period (1.1 re-hospitalized) were almost twice that of adherent patients (0.6 re-hospitalizations).

The study evaluated de-identified data for more than 1,000 heart failure patients from CVS Caremark's Medical Claims Research Database who had in-patient hospitalization for heat failure between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007. The follow-up period for subsequent hospitalizations was for the 12 months following the initial hospitalization date.

"The ongoing challenge of medication non-adherence for patients with heart conditions is well known and, as we see with many chronic conditions, medication adherence for heart failure patients is a significant driver of both long-term clinical outcomes and cost impact," stated Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., EVP and CMO, CVS Caremark.

To address this issue, the company provides its PBM clients with adherence to drug therapy programs through its CVS Caremark Proactive Pharmacy Care approach. This approach focuses on changing patient behavior to encourage medication adherence and involves clinical interventions throughout the treatment cycle. The Adherence to Drug Therapy solution is a mail and retail-based program designed to impact patient behavior through face-to-face first fill counseling; IVR and Web refill reminders, renewals and pick up prompts; outreach calls to potentially non-adherent patients from their local CVS pharmacist; and letters about the importance of staying on a prescribed therapy sent to those patients who have stopped filling a maintenance prescription. According to CVS Caremark, the solution helps about 88% of heart failure patients maintain optimal adherence to their medications.

In addition, the company offers PBM clients the AccordantCare Health Management Program for Heart Failure, which provides an evaluation of clinical tests and procedures based on nationally recognized guidelines that are recommended to enrolled patients and their healthcare providers.

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