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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (July 21)

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COVID-19 continues to impact people and economies here in the U.S and worldwide. Just as there is a need to predict the weather to keep us safe, there is a need for forecasting tools for COVID-19 that can be used to improve awareness about the spread of infection, distribute vaccine and mobilize the appropriate healthcare responses. Did you know that such a forecasting tool exists and is being used by health experts here in the U.S. and around the globe?

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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (June 24)

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On April 1, 2021, Houston Methodist Hospital announced a policy requiring employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June 7, 2021, starting with the leadership and then inoculating the remaining workers, all at its expense. 117 employees sued to block the vaccination requirement tied to employment termination. Employees argued that that the hospital is forcing its employees to be vaccinated or be fired, which they claimed was illegal.

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Lapis Lazuli – US Supreme Court Provides Ruling On Text Messages

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In 1991 when The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted, it was put into place to protect consumers from a rampant growth in the number of telephone marketing calls, unsolicited or otherwise. Three decades ago, most consumers were using landline phones and the world’s first text message wouldn’t be sent until a year later in December 1992. Needless to say, in 1991, Congress could not possibly know about the evolution of the mobile phone nor the advent of sending messages by SMS/text. For the past ten plus years, courts have been clarifying what the TCPA protects and how. Violations of TCPA can result in fines of up to $1,500 per incident/call and multimillion-dollar judgments against violators have been levied. Keeping up to date on what is permissible and what is not is vital to any organization. ATDS Ambiguity An Automated Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) is defined in the TCPA as “equipment which has the capacity—(A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers.” In 2015, the FCC released a Declaratory Ruling that stated “a piece of equipment can possess the requisite ‘capacity’ to satisfy the statutory definition of ‘autodialer’ even if, for example, it requires the addition of software to actually perform the functions described in the definition.” The ambiguity of these two sentences resulted in many lawsuits, fines, and settlements. SCOTUS ATDS Decision On April 1, 2021, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a ruling on one particularly confusing and litigious aspect of the TCPA: what is or is not an ATDS. Previous lower courts were split on their interpretation of the breadth and definition of what was an ATDS. So, SCOTUS reviewed the language and intent of Congress when they were writing the TCPA and issued a unanimous decision specifically related to ATDS. SCOTUS ruled that SMS/text messages would not violate TCPA if the system sending them was not an ATDS and if the sender has an existing relationship with the recipient. Ok… but what exactly qualifies as an ATDS? SCOTUS went on to further clarify the definition of an autodialer. To be an ATDS, the system or equipment generating phone numbers to dial/text must use a random or sequential number generator. Read the full SCOTUS opinion here. SCOTUS ATDS Decision Impact on Healthcare and Pharmacy The SCOTUS opinion is beneficial for healthcare entities and pharmacies: It will reduce deceptive TCPA class action complaints from predatory lawyers It clarifies, at the federal level, that an organization no longer needs to secure consumer consent prior to sending SMS/text messages if the consumer data that they are using is derived from previous or current customers Final Considerations Due to the recent SCOTUS ruling, it is important to review your current policies related to sending SMS/text messages. It is important to note that the April 1 SCOTUS ruling does not supersede state laws governing ATDS, telemarketing, or consumer communication. Your organization will continue to need to evaluate, interpret, and implement policies based your counsel’s recommendations. Now is an excellent time to consider the types and success of consumer acquisition, promotional outreach, and patient engagement solutions you are currently using. When doing so, please consider contacting MarkeTouch. MarkeTouch Media Solutions For 20 years, MarkeTouch has been offering pharmacies and healthcare organizations a nearly unlimited number of patient engagement campaigns. Each campaign and service is specifically designed to acquire new patients, retain your valuable customer base, grow your business, and improve clinical outcomes and operational productivity. Contact us with questions or to learn more. Until next time, take care. Matt and Charles

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Lapis Lazuli – COVID-19 and the Pharmacy Butterfly Effect

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The “Butterfly Effect” is a metaphor used to describe the tiny, seemingly irrelevant events that are later identified as the inception points of significant future occurrences. A butterfly flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado. Of course, a single act like the butterfly flapping its wings cannot cause a tornado. Small events can, however, serve as catalysts that build upon one another, creating waves of change.

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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (April 29)

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Vaccine Tracker According to the CDC, as of 4/27/2021, a total of 297 million doses have been delivered and 232 million doses have been administered. This accounts for; 29.1% of the total population, 37.3% of those over 18 years of age and 67.9% of those over 65 years of age being fully vaccinated. Updated CDC Mask Guidelines  Excerpts from the newly updated CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people.  Fully vaccinated: People no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues Asymptomatic workers no longer need to be restricted from work following an exposure People can visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing An individual is considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series shot or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine. Summer Camp During the Pandemic On 4/24/2021, the CDC updated their recommendations for children attending summer camp.  They include campers staying at least 3 feet apart from each other most of the time and 6 feet of social distancing for children while eating and drinking. Camp counselors and adults present should stay at least 6 feet away from each other and children. Summer camps should have most of their activities outdoors. If they do activities indoors, they should leave windows and doors open. The CDC is encouraging camp employees over the age of 16 to get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Masks are still recommended for anyone who can wear one except when doing activities that preclude mask-wearing, such as eating and drinking or swimming.  The full guidance includes other strategies that camp programs can use to maintain healthy operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick, and support coping and resilience. Vaccine Updates Johnson & Johnson – The FDA and CDC lifted the pause on the J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine.  CDC’s decision to lift the pause came following guidance from ACIP that said the benefits of the shot outweighed the risk of a rare blood clot.  The vaccine label and fact sheets are being updated to reflect the risk. Moderna –  has entered into an agreement with Sanofi to help manufacture as many as 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the US. Sanofi will fill vials and finish packaging for Moderna at its facility in NJ.   Astra Zeneca – The US will release 60 million doses for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to other countries once it clears safety reviews by the FDA. The release will be over the next several months. Novavax – The two dose vaccine candidate has shown in clinical studies to be more than 89% effective in protecting against COVID-19 in its UK clinical trial.  Doses are given one month apart and the vaccine only requires basic refrigeration. The company states that it will soon apply for authorization in the United States. MarkeTouch Media in the News Amber Specialty Pharmacy and MarkeTouch Media Release a Special Report on the Strategic Implementation of SMS/text and Voice Notifications Specialty pharmacy growth is outpacing traditional prescription medication growth encompassing nearly half of total US drug spend. The need for specialty pharmacies to develop a strategic communication plan for reaching, engaging, and managing patients has become an essential component for operational efficiency, clinical outcomes and customer satisfaction.  Amber Specialty Pharmacy has partnered with Houston-based MarkeTouch Media to streamline their patient communication using automated, targeted, and responsive outbound notifications across a variety of services. This addition of using patient preferred communication has allowed Amber Specialty Pharmacy to provide more focus on their patients and spend less time managing routine tasks that were consuming valuable staff resources. Full results of the newly released whitepaper, “Five Immediate Benefits of Incorporating Specialty Pharmacy Focused Automated Outbound Patient Notifications” are available at the link below.  Adam Winstead of Amber, said: “Amber Specialty Pharmacy has always taken a strategic approach leveraging technology to allow us to better serve our patients. With MarkeTouch Media’s TouchPoint Management solution, we saw improvements in: patient adherence, patient experience and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, we have seen effective improvements in clinical outcomes and operational efficiencies. Our partnership with MarkeTouch has been a catalyst in creating a more focused approach to assisting our patients.” Lyle Green, MarkeTouch Media’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, commented, “Amber Specialty Pharmacy was growing rapidly and needed solutions to assist in managing the administrative and operational tasks to streamline workflow and benefit their patients. We are thrilled with the results that Amber is achieving and they clearly demonstrate that TouchPoint Management is a valuable tool for all Specialty Pharmacies.”  Amber Specialty Pharmacy and MarkeTouch Media continue to collaborate and develop additional services specifically tailored to meet the needs of Specialty pharmacy patients. To take a deep dive into the white paper’s findings, click below. Five Immediate Benefits of Incorporating Specialty Pharmacy Focused Automated Outbound Patient Notifications

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Amber Specialty Pharmacy Incorporates Patient Engagement Technology to Enhance Care Coordination

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Specialty pharmacy growth is outpacing traditional prescription medication growth encompassing nearly half of total US drug spend. The need for specialty pharmacies to develop a strategic communication plan for reaching, engaging, and managing patients has become an essential component for operational efficiency, clinical outcomes, and customer satisfaction. Amber Specialty Pharmacy has partnered with Houston-based MarkeTouch Media to streamline their patient communication using automated, targeted, and responsive outbound notifications across a variety of services. This addition of using patient preferred communication has allowed Amber Specialty Pharmacy to provide more focus on their patients and spend less time managing routine tasks that were consuming valuable staff resources. Full results of the newly released whitepaper, “Five Immediate Benefits of Incorporating Specialty Pharmacy Focused Automated Outbound Patient Notifications”, can be read here. Adam Winstead of Amber said, “Amber Specialty Pharmacy has always taken a strategic approach leveraging technology to allow us to better serve our patients. With MarkeTouch Media’s TouchPoint Management solution, we saw improvements in patient adherence, patient experience, and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, we have seen effective improvements in clinical outcomes and operational efficiencies. Our partnership with MarkeTouch has been a catalyst in creating a more focused approach to assisting our patients.” Lyle Green, MarkeTouch Media’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, commented, “Amber Specialty Pharmacy was growing rapidly and needed solutions to assist in managing the administrative and operational tasks to streamline workflow and benefit their patients. We are thrilled with the results that Amber is achieving, and they clearly demonstrate that TouchPoint Management is a valuable tool for all Specialty Pharmacies.” Amber Specialty Pharmacy and MarkeTouch Media continue to collaborate and develop additional services specifically tailored to meet the needs of Specialty pharmacy patients. To take a deep dive into the white paper’s findings, request a download of the PDF here. About Amber Pharmacy Amber Specialty Pharmacy is an award-winning leader in the specialty pharmacy industry with over 23 years of experience providing specialized care for persons with chronic, complex medical conditions. Named the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy’s 2020 Specialty Pharmacy of the Year, they have built an outstanding reputation by providing personalized support and quality clinical care to patients and families. This comprehensive care approach supports the medical, emotional, financial and administrative needs of patients throughout the United States. Amber Specialty Pharmacy is accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). Amber Specialty Pharmacy headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska, with an additional 20 locations throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.amberpharmacy.com About MarkeTouch Media MarkeTouch Media is a healthcare technology company committed to excellence in patient engagement.  MarkeTouch provides our clients with patient communication solutions focused on improving clinical outcomes, operational efficiency and the patient experience.  As a pioneer in automated outbound notifications in the healthcare space, MarkeTouch is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021.   MarkeTouch provides almost 400 million annual patient communications on behalf of over 11,000 pharmacies across North America. The MarkeTouch difference is the unique combination of healthcare experience, communication expertise, innovative solutions, proven scalability, and reliability.  For more information, visit www.marketouchmedia.com.

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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (April 2)

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According to the CDC, as of 3/30/2021, COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, a total of 189 million doses have been delivered, 147 million doses have been administered. This accounts for 20.7% of the U.S. population over 18 years of age being fully vaccinated and 49.8% of the U.S. population over 65 years of age being fully vaccinated. Interesting stat: the highest daily reported total number of new daily COVID-19 cases in the U. S. occurred on January 8, 2021 – 315,119. On March 29, 2021 that number was reported as 60,699 new cases. mRNA Vaccines Highly Effective in Real World Situations Nearly 4,000 health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers completed weekly SARS-CoV-2 testing for 13 consecutive weeks (HEROES-RECOVER Study). Under real-world conditions, mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) effectiveness after full immunization (≥14 days after second dose) was 90% against SARS-CoV-2 infections whether symptomatic or not.  Vaccine effectiveness of partial immunization (≥14 days after first dose but before second dose) was 80%. The results reinforce CDC’s recommendation of receiving full 2-dose immunizations for mRNA vaccines and COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all eligible persons. Scruples and Drams – News and Notes from around Pharmacy and Healthcare Pfizer announced plans to develop other vaccines beyond COVID-19 using mRNA technology. By April 19, Americans will have access to COVID-19 vaccine in 40,000 pharmacies using the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, up from the prior 17,000 included pharmacies. Retired pharmacists are among those approved to vaccinate against COVID-19 as the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) has expanded its list of the people who can administer the vaccines.  Reports from the White House suggest that there is no federal mandate for rolling out COVID vaccine passport systems, leaving the matter to the private sector. 46% of individuals who are open to getting a COVID-19 vaccination do not have a preference which one they get (Kaiser Family Foundation) Vaccine Updates Johnson + Johnson is back on track to meeting their 20 million vaccine dose delivery goal by the end of March. Pfizer has begun testing it’s COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 and under. Results from the clinical trial are expected in the second half of the year. The company plans to request emergency use authorization for 12 to 15 year-olds in the coming weeks. AstraZeneca  released high-level results from their Phase III trial. Vaccine efficacy at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 was 76%, 15+ days after receiving two doses, four weeks apart. Vaccine efficacy for participants 65+ was 85%. Results demonstrated 100% efficacy for preventing severe/critical disease and hospitalization. Vaccine Hesitancy – Fewer people are saying they want to “wait and see” how the vaccine works in others before getting it themselves. 17% responded “wait and see” in the KFF March survey, dropping from 22% in February and 31% in January. Patient Care Corner – COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for People Living with MS The MS Society has released guidance for receiving COVID-19 vaccinations for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The MS Society reiterated that there is no preferred vaccine, the vaccines are safe to use with MS medications and that people with MS should be vaccinated.   Specific guidance to a patient’s disease modifying therapy (DMT): Continue a DMT unless advised by your MS healthcare provider to stop or delay it. Some DMTs may make the vaccine less effective but it will still provide some protection. For those taking Kesimpta, Lemtrada, Ocrevus, or Rituxan consider coordinating the timing of your vaccine with the timing of your DMT dose. Work with a MS healthcare provider to determine the best schedule. Review the MS Society full  considerations related to the timing MS medications with COVID-19 vaccines. Pregnant Women Show Robust Immune Response to COVID Vaccines, Pass Antibodies to Newborns In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers have found the new mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women. The results also demonstrated the vaccines confer protective immunity to newborns through breastmilk and the placenta. Researchers also compared vaccination induced antibody levels to those induced by natural COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, and found significantly higher levels of antibodies from vaccination. Lastly, vaccine-generated antibodies were also present in all umbilical cord blood and breastmilk samples taken from the study, showing the transfer of antibodies from mothers to newborns.

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NACDS RxIMPACT Recognizes Program Pioneer and MarkeTouch Director of Clinical Solutions, Rebecca Lichucki

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The NACDS RxIMPACT program also recognized the seven Pioneers who participated in this year’s event. The Pioneers are those who attended the first NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in 2009. The Pioneers who also participated in this year’s 13th Anniversary event included Rebecca Lichucki, MarkeTouch Director of Clinical Solutions.

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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (March 3)

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Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Receives EUA The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Janssen (Johnson + Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine.  The single dose (0.5 ml) injection is authorized use in individuals 18 years of age and up.  The most commonly reported side effects were; pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects were mild to moderate in severity and appeared within 1-2 days, lasting the same 1-2 day timeframe.   Storage of unpunctured multi-dose vials is at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). The vaccine should be protected from light. Do not freeze the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Unpunctured vials of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be stored between 9°C to 25°C (47°F to 77°F) for up to 12 hours. After the first dose has been withdrawn from a vial, that vial can be kept between 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) for up to 6 hours or at room temperature (25°C / 77°F) for up to 2 hours. Discard the vial if the vaccine is not used within these times. Vaccine Updates Johnson + Johnson – A CDC epidemiologist said Monday that in the rare case where patients experience an allergic reaction to the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna (mRNA) vaccine they could use the Janssen vaccine, at least 28 days later, under the advise and supervision of their doctor.  CDC guidance above. Novavax – A vaccine from Novavax could be available in the U.S. as early as May, according to their CEO, if the FDA allows data from a U.K. phase 3 trial that showed the shot had 89% efficacy.  A phase 3 trial that includes 30,000 U.S. participants is ongoing.  Moderna – has developed a booster COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the South Africa variant.  Phase 1 clinical trials will begin soon. Pfizer – FDA agreed to allow the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be transported and stored for up to two weeks at conventional temperatures typically found in pharmaceutical freezers. Should I Still Wear a Mask After Covid-19 Vaccination? Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine do not provide significant first dose immune protection until 12 – 14 days after the first dose and they only reach 51 – 52% efficacy after a few weeks, per a December study in The New England Journal of Medicine. During this antibody building period, the body is still relatively vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.  People will also need to be thoughtful of if and when friends and family get vaccinated until researchers are sure about the risk of COVID-19 transmission post vaccination, and a large enough portion of the population is vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Therefore, it is the widely held recommendation that we must continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene. CDC guidance is coming soon on safe activities for those who have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (February 11)

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How Does the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Work? While each of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines target the spike protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, uses a completely different technology.  The Janssen vaccine is what’s called an adenovirus-vectored vaccine.  The adenovirus acts as a sort of Trojan horse to deliver SARS-CoV-2 protein to the immune system. It cannot replicate or cause disease. Once injected, the adenovirus goes inside your cells and releases that SARS sequence. Your body then converts it into the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, minus the disease-causing virus. Then, your immune system learns to recognize the spike protein. Allowing your immune system to provide a faster, stronger defense next time it encounters the COVID-19 causing virus. Vaccine Updates Johnson & Johnson – the FDA set February 24th as the date, for the committee to review the Janssen, single dose, COVID-19 vaccine.  They are expected to make a decision about an emergency use authorization (EUA) shortly after the meeting. Pfizer – on February 7th, Pfizer shared that it has doubled its output in the last month and will soon be able to cut the time it takes to produce a batch of vaccines from 110 days to 60 days on average.  AstraZeneca –  expects to have a modified version of its COVID-19 vaccine that will be effective against the South Africa variant by fall. AstraZeneca stated that the modified version would require less time and less clinical testing than the original. Moderna – is asking U.S. regulators to allow it to increase the amount of coronavirus vaccine put into each vial by as much as 50%, which they state can accelerate patient vaccine access.  An FDA decision could take several weeks. Vaccinated Mothers May Pass on SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies to Newborns Pregnant women are of the designated high-risk groups requiring special protection from COVID-19.  Researchers have been trying to determine if vaccinating pregnant women would produce protective antibodies that are capable of crossing the placenta reaching the fetus or newborn. A newly released study describes the first case of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies detected in the cord blood of an infant born to a mother immunized with the first dose of the Moderna vaccine three weeks earlier. Data shows that detectable levels of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus were found in the cord blood sample. While further research is needed, protection for babies of vaccinated moms may be possible. Ford Designs Clear Mask to Aid Hearing-Impaired Ford has developed, designed and is preparing to market a patent-pending, clear respirator in the hopes of benefitting those with hearing impairments. What makes the respirator mask unique is that it is transparent, low-cost and reusable.  The goal is to permit people to communicate better by seeing the full range of human expression.  For individuals with a hearing impairment, the clear mask would allow them to improve lip reading ability currently hidden by currently available personal protective equipment. Ford expects the respirator to certify to N95 standards of virus protection. Effectiveness testing is currently ongoing.  Ford is hoping to make the product available later this spring. Do You Have a Solution in Place, Capable of Handling Massive COVID-19 Immunization Requests? Enter MarkeTouch’s Health and Wellness Scheduler.  Currently managing millions of COVID-19 vaccine appointment inquires daily, the Health and Wellness Scheduler has been enhanced to allow pharmacies the ability to customize appointment availability.  It also offers customizable mobile-optimized vaccine consent forms either as a stand alone service or incorporated into the patient appointment scheduling process. Contact MarkeTouch today to learn more about adding the convenience of appointment scheduling to your COVID-19 vaccination strategy.

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Amber Specialty Pharmacy Incorporates Patient Engagement Technology to Enhance Care Coordination

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Specialty pharmacy growth is outpacing traditional prescription medication growth encompassing nearly half of total US drug spend. The need for specialty pharmacies to develop a strategic communication plan for reaching, engaging, and managing patients has become an essential component for operational efficiency, clinical outcomes, and customer satisfaction. Amber Specialty Pharmacy has partnered with Houston-based MarkeTouch Media to streamline their patient communication using automated, targeted, and responsive outbound notifications across a variety of services. This addition of using patient preferred communication has allowed Amber Specialty Pharmacy to provide more focus on their patients and spend less time managing routine tasks that were consuming valuable staff resources. Full results of the newly released whitepaper, “Five Immediate Benefits of Incorporating Specialty Pharmacy Focused Automated Outbound Patient Notifications”, can be read here. Adam Winstead of Amber said, “Amber Specialty Pharmacy has always taken a strategic approach leveraging technology to allow us to better serve our patients. With MarkeTouch Media’s TouchPoint Management solution, we saw improvements in patient adherence, patient experience, and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, we have seen effective improvements in clinical outcomes and operational efficiencies. Our partnership with MarkeTouch has been a catalyst in creating a more focused approach to assisting our patients.” Lyle Green, MarkeTouch Media’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, commented, “Amber Specialty Pharmacy was growing rapidly and needed solutions to assist in managing the administrative and operational tasks to streamline workflow and benefit their patients. We are thrilled with the results that Amber is achieving, and they clearly demonstrate that TouchPoint Management is a valuable tool for all Specialty Pharmacies.” Amber Specialty Pharmacy and MarkeTouch Media continue to collaborate and develop additional services specifically tailored to meet the needs of Specialty pharmacy patients. To take a deep dive into the white paper’s findings, request a download of the PDF here. About Amber Pharmacy Amber Specialty Pharmacy is an award-winning leader in the specialty pharmacy industry with over 23 years of experience providing specialized care for persons with chronic, complex medical conditions. Named the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy’s 2020 Specialty Pharmacy of the Year, they have built an outstanding reputation by providing personalized support and quality clinical care to patients and families. This comprehensive care approach supports the medical, emotional, financial and administrative needs of patients throughout the United States. Amber Specialty Pharmacy is accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). Amber Specialty Pharmacy headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska, with an additional 20 locations throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.amberpharmacy.com About MarkeTouch Media MarkeTouch Media is a healthcare technology company committed to excellence in patient engagement.  MarkeTouch provides our clients with patient communication solutions focused on improving clinical outcomes, operational efficiency and the patient experience.  As a pioneer in automated outbound notifications in the healthcare space, MarkeTouch is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021.   MarkeTouch provides almost 400 million annual patient communications on behalf of over 11,000 pharmacies across North America. The MarkeTouch difference is the unique combination of healthcare experience, communication expertise, innovative solutions, proven scalability, and reliability.  For more information, visit www.marketouchmedia.com.

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NACDS RxIMPACT Recognizes Program Pioneer and MarkeTouch Director of Clinical Solutions, Rebecca Lichucki

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The NACDS RxIMPACT program also recognized the seven Pioneers who participated in this year’s event. The Pioneers are those who attended the first NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill in 2009. The Pioneers who also participated in this year’s 13th Anniversary event included Rebecca Lichucki, MarkeTouch Director of Clinical Solutions.

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AMCP Expo Virtual Meetings

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We are disappointed that the AMCP 2020 Conference was cancelled as we were looking forward to meeting with you at our expo booth. However, we understand the unprescedented measures that are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. Most importantly, we hope that you are healthy. Just because AMCP isn’t happening this year, you can still: Increase formulary compliance Enhance clinical program support Lower drug spend Improve member outcomes Lift client and member satisfaction MarkeTouch hosted webinars in April. If you missed the webinar this year, click here to see a 45-minute recording of one of the sessions!

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Kroger launches MedSync via MarkeTouch Media

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The Kroger’s pharmacy operation is partnering with Houston-based MarkeTouch Media to assist patients through medication synchronization. The solution leverages a central call center and 2,200 Kroger Family of Pharmacies locations to enroll patients and support pharmacy associates engaged in med sync, allowing patients to refill multiple prescriptions on a single date. The companies said med sync has been proven to increase a patient’s medication adherence, health outcomes and pharmacy experience. Kroger’s pharmacies have implemented a targeted approach to identify patients who would most benefit from med sync. Through the partnership with MarkeTouch Media, Kroger has incorporated sophisticated technology, automation, and training to ensure a high level of patient communication and pharmacy system integration. To streamline workflow between the call center and pharmacy locations, MarkeTouch Media has integrated with Kroger’s proprietary pharmacy software to coordinate staff tasks and deliver automated notifications to patients in voice, text and email. The new service have led to higher pharmacist-patient consultation rates and increased patient exposure to such clinical services as immunizations, health screenings and medication therapy management for Kroger pharmacy patients, MarkeTouch Media said. “There is no doubt that there are tremendous health and efficiency benefits for patients who are enrolled in medSync. The Kroger family of pharmacies has weighed the impact on pharmacy workflow and the financial effect on the front of store, and has architected a best-in-class solution with the results to show for it,” MarkeTouch Media vice president of sales and marketing Lyle Green said.

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Increase Compliance with MarkeTouch Media’s Effective Communication Services

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Lyle M. Green, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of MarkeTouch Media, talks about how chain pharmacies can use its patient communications service line to positively affect compliance. CDD: Why are effective communications important for pharmacies? LMG: The biggest issue in pharmacy today is adherence, where 30-50% of all patients across all disease and illness categories are non-compliant. Medication non-adherence costs the American healthcare industry $300 billion a year, of which $30 billion comes directly from the pharmacy industry. The average return-to-stock rate across the nation is 6.8%, which cost retail pharmacies efficiency and revenue. Furthermore, the healthcare implications are staggering, 125,000 patients die each year and 10% of all hospital admissions are a direct result of non-compliance. Effective timely communications play a pivotal role in solving these problems, for example, our outbound notifications reduce RTS by 40% for our clients. CDD: How do you draw the correlation between communication and compliance? LMG: The leading cause of noncompliance is forgetfulness. Our RxTouch Outbound Notifications manages day-to-day pharmacy communication including informing patients when their prescriptions are ready, reminding them to pick up their medication, and notifying them that a refill is due. Further, our (patent pending) Patient Preference Interface allows patients to be communicated with in the manner they choose (voice, text, mobile, e-mail) so they are more likely to receive and respond to the communication. Pharmacies leverage RxTouch Mobile Apps to push notifications, deliver a convenient way to refill prescriptions, and provide pill reminders to increase the likelihood that patients will remain adherent. In addition, the role of the pharmacy has evolved to provide a wider range of healthcare including health and wellness programs, clinics, screenings, and medication therapy management to name a few. The RxTouch Pharmacy Scheduler was specifically designed for chain pharmacies to allow patients to schedule pharmacy appointments online, via the phone, and in-store. By providing a convenient method to communicate availability, the Scheduler has proven to increase the number of appointments made and reduce no-shows. Patient adherence and retention is dependent on a pharmacy’s ability to effectively use communication tools that keep their customers informed about all aspects of their business. Communication translates to increased medication compliance, customer satisfaction and revenue. CDD: What new technologies have you been working on to increase compliance? LMG: This year we are proud to announce the launch of RxTouch Pharmacist Connect, an industry-first dialing software that allows pharmacy staff to efficiently make live calls to patients. The dialer is customizable, hosted, tracks usage with online analytics, personalizes call scripting by patient, dynamically generates call lists, and has centralized administration. The service is used for a variety initiatives to increase compliance. CDD: What would you advise pharmacy chains considering their patient-communications strategy? LMG: Communications between pharmacists and patients is paramount to solving compliance problems. To make significant impact and increase medication adherence, decision makers need to consider comprehensive strategies that approach the issue in a holistic manner. The use of strategic communication, in the form of timely and appropriate messages, will drive consumer behavior. We at MarkeTouch Media have developed a multi-faceted service line that can help chains achieve their communication goals.

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MarkeTouch Media Offers Affordable and Robust Mobile Solutions

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A shift in consumer behavior reveals that patients are incorporating smartphones into the decision making process of an increasing number of everyday purchases. This means that those chains that choose not to invest in mobile technology will continue to lose more customers more frequently as time goes on. Consider that in 2016, 96% of all cellular phones sold in the United States were smartphones and that 90% of smartphone owners kept their units with them all the time. Additionally, a whopping 98% of all messages received on a smartphone are read, compared to a dismal 12.5% of e-mail communications. The effect of these trends on the retail pharmacy industry have become more apparent and as a result, investments in mobile technology have picked up a tremendous amount, especially with pharmacy giants such as Walgreens and CVS. In a recent study of mHealth (mobile health) initiatives in pharmacy, Walgreens reported that mobile app usage increased by over 500% in 2011 and that smartphones account for 40% of all online refill requests. Moreover, over 3 million Walgreens customers now receive Rx notifications directly on their smartphones. The problem that most pharmacy chains face is that they do not possess the resources or the experience to develop solutions in-house. When looking externally, they are inundated with a wide range of options and find it difficult to differentiate among the various providers. MarkeTouch Media, a leading provider of pharmacy communications, has created a mobile platform that complements their RxTouch service line to keep the developmental process simple, turnkey, and affordable. They understand the various nuances of the industry and customize affordable solutions. MarkeTouch offers a complete mobile solution for your customers, whether they download native apps on Apple iOS and Google Android devices, or browse mobile optimized websites. Patients can refill and manage their prescriptions in real-time, receive notifications (mobile push, voice, sms or e-mail) about their medication and pharmacy offers, find store information/locations and access drug and health related information. Pharmacy chains have the ability to make real-time updates to content without the need for technical expertise by using MarkeTouch’s proprietary content management system. Multiple registration and security options are available to fit specific business rules, and for those pharmacies that are part of a larger organization (e.g. grocery), front-end app integration makes incorporating pharmacy features seamless for your customers. Location based customer surveys, health and wellness scheduler shopping lists, daily pill reminders, photo printing services and social media integration are all features of RxTouch mobile applications. Smartphone utilization will continue to increase and chains serious about their future growth can no longer afford to ignore the trends. Retail pharmacies that provide patients with timely communications and offer convenient ways to interact with their stores will gain ground over competitors.

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Single source for patient communication offered exclusively by MarkeTouch Media

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The pharmacy industry is aware of the facts. Each year, prescription non-adherence in the U.S. costs more than $230 billion dollars annually, contributes to 10 percent of all hospitalizations and results in 125,000 deaths1. Apparently, C. Everett Koop was right when he said, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them”. The dilemma remains: How do pharmacies contribute to increasing patient adherence in an efficient manner that does not send costs through the roof? Pharmacies have relied heavily on automated patient communications, including inbound IVR, outbound notifications, web/mobile applications, MedSync and scheduling solutions for immunizations and screenings. However, employing multiple vendors can cause confusion for patients, additional work for pharmacy staff and the potential for violations of the FCC TCPA and FTC TSR regulations. MarkeTouch Media is the only United States vendor in the industry that provides holistic patient communication services and without utilizing third party vendors or outsourced programmers. The benefits of using MarkeTouch’s RxTouch suite of services include: Consistent scripting, voices and interfaces for communicating with patients. A single portal, allowing pharmacy staff to view all patient communication and reporting through one URL. A single vendor, reducing security concerns related to data transmissions. In addition to providing consistent messaging through automation, pharmacies are increasing personal communication between staff and patients. In its annual report card, NCPA determined that “the leading indicator of whether a patient will adhere to their medication is their personal relationship with the pharmacist or pharmacy staff.” MarkeTouch’s unique service, Pharmacist Connect, allows pharmacy staff to increase patient communication without affecting workflow. A pharmacy staff member logs in to the portal (the same, single portal used for automated messaging); views patient history, medications, adherence information and potential interventions; and makes calls without dialing the phone. The service has proven to increase patient adherence to their medication regimens; results include Return to Stock reduced by 20 percent over traditional automation, increasing PDC scores by 30 percent and more than 50 percent enrollment into MedSync. It’s clear that a single source for all patient communications increases pharmacy revenue, patient adherence and satisfaction. 1. Annals of Internal Medicine, December 4, 2012 Vol 157 No. 11 Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(11):785-795. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-11-201212040-00538

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MarkeTouch Media Takes Aim at Specialty Pharmacy with the Patient LifeCycle Management Solution

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HOUSTON (PRWEB) OCTOBER 17, 2017 MarkeTouch Media recently launched its new solution designed specifically for the Specialty pharmacy marketplace. MarkeTouch’s Patient LifeCycle Management solution offers touchpoint automation that increases efficiency and manages URAC compliance without affecting patient care. The service includes patient satisfaction surveys, clinical assessments, shipment status notifications, prior-to-refill assessments, and URAC metrics tracking and reporting. “By implementing automation when and where appropriate, there is no effect on patient care with massive increases in operational efficiency allowing staff to focus on patient health,” said Mike James, Senior Vice President of Specialty Pharmacy Operations at EntrustRx. He continued, “The investment made to become accredited is too substantial to risk by not building the framework for sustained commitment to quality and accountability. MarkeTouch has provided us with an independent patient satisfaction survey to ensure we are meeting our commitment to URAC compliance and has allowed our personnel to increase our focus on patient care.” In 2016, nearly 30% of the pharmacy industry’s revenue was dedicated to specialty drugs, equating to $115 billion. Lyle Green, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at MarkeTouch Media, is excited about the new venture into the specialty marketplace saying, “The specialty marketplace is growing rapidly. Operational efficiency and URAC compliance are critical to the success of all specialty pharmacies. MarkeTouch’s solution increases efficiency and customers’ support with services and metrics to stay compliant, and we have positioned ourselves to provide solutions that positively affect our clients’ bottom line.” By 2021, estimates predict the specialty drug industry will make up over 40% of pharmacy revenue – nearly $240 billion. About MarkeTouch Media, LLC. MarkeTouch Media sends and receives 175 million communications annually on behalf of over 14,000 pharmacy locations across North America. MarkeTouch Media is the only vendor in the pharmacy marketplace offering clients a single source for comprehensive, personalized patient communications including: Outbound Notifications; Central IVR; Pharmacist Connect; Mobile & Web Solutions. MarkeTouch leverages its technology to implement turnkey HOSTED solutions such as Optimum MedSync, Health & Wellness Scheduler; Clinical Solutions and Hospital Discharge Management. MarkeTouch services have assisted its clients increase revenue, operational efficiency and patient adherence since 2003. 

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fred’s Pharmacy Launches Digital Coupons and New Mobile App to Help Customers Get the Best Deals on Products They Love

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MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — fred’s Pharmacy customers now have more ways to save money at fred’s stores. Today fred’s launched digital coupons along with a new mobile app that makes using digital coupons easy and convenient. Hundreds of digital coupons will be available, including favorite brand-name products with discounts over and above fred’s everyday low prices. Customers will also save money with exclusive deals on brand-name and fred’s-brand products, buy-one-get-one free offers, and other great savings. To take advantage of these deals, customers can easily create an account at fredsinc.com/coupons, or download the new fred’s mobile app and clip/save digital coupons to their account. To offer even more convenience, fred’s Pharmacy does not require a loyalty card to redeem digital coupons; customers simply enter their phone number at checkout to save. The fred’s Pharmacy mobile app is available for free on Android and iOS devices. The app presents coupons and discounts in a gallery, sortable by brand or category. Customers can also view the current ad, where items that have a digital coupon are indicated, and the coupon can be saved directly from the ad to the customer’s account. When shopping at fred’s, customers can search for coupons on the spot and clip and redeem them instantly, because there is no lag time between when a coupon is clipped and when it’s available to use. “It’s important to us that we provide the best value to our customers on the products they love, and now they can save hundreds of dollars more using digital coupons,” said Mary Lou Gardner, Executive Vice President, Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer, fred’s Inc. “Plus, we designed the process to be as quick and easy as possible, and the new mobile app adds even more convenience by putting deals in customers’ hands right in the store.” “We worked to ensure our customers have the best-possible experience with our digital coupons. This is the kind of value-rich, shopper-friendly program that our customers have come to expect from fred’s, and we want it to operate seamlessly,” Gardner added. Additional features available on the fred’s Pharmacy mobile app include user-friendly prescription management tools. Tools providing prescription information, quick fill and refill, a symptom checker, and more are designed to help customers easily manage prescriptions for their whole family. About fred’s Inc. Tracing its history back to an original store in Coldwater, Mississippi, opened in 1947, today fred’s Pharmacy is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and operates 601 pharmacy and general merchandise stores and three specialty pharmacy-only locations, including 14 franchised fred’s Pharmacy locations. With a unique store format and strategy that combines the best elements of a healthcare-focused drug store with a value-focused retailer, fred’s Pharmacy stores offer more than 12,000 frequently purchased items that address the healthcare and everyday needs of its customers and patients. This includes nationally recognized brands, proprietary fred’s Pharmacy label products, and a full range of value-priced selections. The company has two distribution centers, one in Memphis, Tennessee, and Dublin, Georgia. For more information about fred’s Pharmacy, visit www.fredsinc.com. SOURCE fred’s Pharmacy  

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