Personalized newsletter improves patient compliance


Health Resources provides chains with custom newsletter


Personalized newsletter improves patient compliance

How can a chain pharmacy provide individual patients with written information about a medicine that they are taking, educate them about disease prevention, and inform them of in-store promotions? Enter Health Resource, a division of Catalina Marketing, St. Louis.

This seven-year-old firm installs a system that can generate newsletters custom-tailored to each patient. Health Resource’s system is already installed in 37 chains, encompassing 10,000 stores. The company plans to be available in 20,000 stores within the next 12 months.

Emphasizing that patient privacy is guaranteed, Mike McClorey, president/CEO of the company, explained that the firm pulls patient information from the pharmacy’s computer system in order to customize each newsletter. For example, if a patient fills a prescription for an allergy medication, the front page of the newsletter will feature information about the drug being dispensed. The balance of the newsletter will have an editorial about seasonal rhinitis as well as a compliance ad from the drug manufacturer encouraging the patient to take the product as the doctor prescribed.

"We’ve seen over time that we can improve patient compliance by about 9% by providing education and information about the product, including how to take it and how to relieve unpleasant side effects," said McClorey. The back of the newsletter touts in-store promotions such as a brown bag day or photo-finishing month specials.

Health Resource has about 30 different short articles rotating through the system. These articles, written in-house, are updated monthly. Sixty or 70 different ads are in the system at a given time, and they are tailored to each patient and the drugs he or she is taking. For example, if a woman between the age of 50 to 65 is filling a prescription for an antibiotic, she may receive a newsletter with an ad for an osteoporosis product.

How much does the newsletter cost pharmacies? McClorey said that pharmaceutical manufacturers pay for the ads, and the pharmacies receive a fee from Health Resource for every newsletter they print. McClorey would not reveal the fee but said, "We provide the pharmacy with increased sales in store visits and provide them with an ongoing source of income."

Health Resource plans to offer its service to independent pharmacies through wholesalers in the future.

The installation cost is dependent on the pharmacy’s daily volume and on whether it needs to have a computer and a laser printer installed.

Health Resource has also launched PharmAware, a program that delivers targeted messages to pharmacists, such as news about a manufacturer’s product recall. In addition, the firm offers a direct-mail program called Compliance Direct. Health Resource sells the program to pharmaceutical manufacturers and pays pharmacies for fulfillment of the program.

Yet another effort Health Resource is involved in is Generic Compliance. The firm has designed several advertisements for generic drugs intended to educate consumers on the benefits of proper compliance. "Whenever we see those drugs dispensed, we will print that generic ad. We’ve shown that we can increase compliance for generic products in the range of 5%-10%. That translates to more sales and increased store visits. There’s better outcome for the patient and a better quality of pharmaceutical care," said McClorey.

Sandra Levy


Sandra Levy. Personalized newsletter improves patient compliance.

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