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URAC Launches “Highlights In Health” Podcast Series

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

First Podcast Features CVS Caremark Drug Therapy
Management Program

Washington, D.C. – September 29, 2009 – URAC, the nation’s leading health care accreditation and education organization, announced today the launch of its new podcast series, “Highlights in Health”. This series of podcasts will bring to listeners stories about what’s going right in our health care system. It will focus on innovative programs that health care organizations have developed to protect and empower consumers, and the people who are making these programs work.  The first podcast takes a close look at the success of the CVS Caremark Drug Therapy Management Program, which was a platinum winner at URAC’s “Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection Awards Gala” held earlier this year.

“Only by promoting best practices and encouraging innovation can we make positive changes to our health care system and ensure high quality standards,” said URAC President and CEO Alan P. Spielman. “We heard all of these great success stories from our Best Practices winners, and wanted to find a way to help more people see the great work that is being done. The podcast series gives us a way to share these inspiring stories, and hopefully urge other health care organizations to look for ways they could improve their own services.”

The CVS Caremark Drug Therapy Management program provides patients with access to specially trained clinical pharmacists for one-on-one medication counseling. Patients with complex pharmacy needs – those on multiple medications or who have prescriptions from a number of different health care providers – can receive individualized telephonic counseling with a clinical pharmacist to review their health needs and concerns and identify any potential issues with adherence, efficacy, dosing, and interactions. Once enrolled in the program, a comprehensive electronic record is developed and kept up-to-date for the patient, along with an individualized care plan. Participants have regular follow-up appointments via phone with their assigned clinical pharmacist.

“It’s not uncommon for people, especially as they’re getting older, to be on multiple meds, they may be seeing multiple doctors, and Doctor A may not know what Doctor B has prescribed. So the older people get, and the more medications they are using, there is a higher likelihood that they may experience a medication misadventure,” said Dr. Carolyn Stang, a pharmacist and Director for Clinical Program Management at CVS Caremark who manages one of the CVS Caremark Drug Therapy Management Programs.

According to Dr. Stang, the program saved an average of $195 per member per month in a pilot study conducted by CVS Caremark. The clinical pharmacists have also provided information to patients to open discussions with their physicians, and at times have helped to prevent adverse events.

In describing the CVS Caremark program, and how it has helped patients feel more informed and empowered, the podcast features not only Dr. Stang, but also a pair of active senior citizens who participate in the program and the clinical manager who oversees the program’s team of pharmacists. Each person provides additional information and his or her own perspective of the program.

“With disease management and prevention playing important roles in the health care debate, we felt the CVS Caremark program was a great topic for our first podcast,” said Mr. Spielman. “By supporting consumer empowerment and continuity of care, the program is a great model for addressing today’s complex health needs. By sharing these ideas in an accessible digital format, we hope to encourage more discussions about positive changes.”

To listen to the first URAC “Highlights in Health” podcast, visit https://www.urac.org/podcast/. The podcast will also be available on the iTunes store at http://store.apple.com/us.

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For 25 years, URAC has been the independent leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation, education, and measurement. URAC offers a wide range of quality benchmarking programs that reflect the latest changes in health care and provide a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability. URAC’s evidence-based measures and standards are developed through inclusive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders committed to improving the quality of health care.

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