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CVS Caremark Research Tailors Consumer Communications to Encourage Better Medication Behavior

WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Caremark today outlined the results of an innovative, personalized consumer communications program designed to encourage patients to take their medications as doctors direct. Early results of the program show increases in consumers signing up for automatic prescription refills and more readily substituting generic medications for brand medicines to lower costs.


The program to continually improve consumer communications is part of a collaboration CVS Caremark has initiated with behavioral economists from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College and Carnegie Mellon University.  Kevin Volpp from Wharton, Punam Keller from Tuck and George Loewenstein from Carnegie Mellon are members of CVS Caremark's Behavior Change Research Partnership (BCRP), formed by the company to apply  behavioral economics to improve how pharmacy care is provided to customers.

The findings from the research were outlined today at Silverlink's RESULTS 2011: The Consumer Health Engagement Conference by Bari Harlam, senior vice president of Member Engagement for CVS Caremark. The conference, held in Boston today and tomorrow, is focusing on innovative ways health care companies can engage consumers to take a more active role in their health care decisions.

In her remarks, Harlam said that CVS Caremark is measuring the impact of different communications using behavioral science principles of making messages timely, relevant, easy to understand and easy to implement. In addition, such information can be tailored to outline individual medication and cost options to give consumers a chance to consider their own potential cost savings.

"By giving patients who are signing up for prescriptions online an active choice concerning their care, we have seen a significant improvement in the number of people signing up for our automatic prescription refill program," Harlam said. "By providing personalized prescription guides that outline options in easy to understand language – whether the communications be on the telephone, face-to-face with pharmacists or by letter – we are seeing an increase in the numbers of patients willing to consider generics."

Harlam said CVS Caremark is investing in behavioral change research and continuous efforts to enhance communication as part of its effort to improve customer service to keep patients adherent to their medicines. By helping customers take their medications as doctors direct, they can avoid unnecessary health care costs and hospitalizations. "These programs are exciting because they offer the opportunity to improve the quality of pharmacy care while helping to reduce overall medical costs," Harlam said.  

CVS Caremark has also invested in research targeting medication adherence through a three-year collaboration with Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

About CVS Caremark

CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States with integrated offerings across the entire spectrum of pharmacy care. We are uniquely positioned to engage plan members in behaviors that improve their health and to lower overall health care costs for health plans, plan sponsors and their members. CVS Caremark is a market leader in mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, and retail clinics, and is a leading provider of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. As one of the country's largest pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), we provide access to a network of approximately 65,000 pharmacies, including more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy® stores that provide unparalleled service and capabilities. Our clinical offerings include our signature Pharmacy Advisor™ program as well as innovative generic step therapy and genetic benefit management programs that promote more cost effective and healthier behaviors and improve health care outcomes. General information about CVS Caremark is available through the Company's website at

Media Contact:
Jon Sandberg
CVS Caremark
(401) 770 4914

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