The US is currently vaccinating around 2.2 million patients a day. Almost 65% of Americans 65+ have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.
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.
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 After the first dose has been withdrawn from a vial, that vial can be kept between 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) for up to 6 hours or at room temperature (25°C / 77°F) for up to 2 hours.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.
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.
MarkeTouch is proud to be your partner and resource for patient engagement. We hope you find this week’s COVID-19 Clinical & Operations Update useful. Thank you for all you do, take care.
MarkeTouch is proud to be your partner and resource for patient engagement. We hope you find this week’s COVID-19 Clinical & Operations Update useful.
Thank you for all you do, take care.
We understand this is a busy and challenging time. MarkeTouch is proud to be your partner and resource for patient engagement. Welcome to the COVID-19 Clinical & Operations Update, your quick reference to the latest COVID-19 news. We hope you find it helpful. Thank you & take care.
This month, MarkeTouch is pleased to introduce you to Matt Feltman, our Vice President of Clinical Services. Matt has been with MarkeTouch for 2 years. Q: What is the role of a VP of Clinical Services at MarkeTouch? A: It is one-part sales, one-part clinical, one-part development. I get to work with great clients, developing innovative, patient-centered programs and engaging with wonderful industry groups. Q: What has been your favorite project at MarkeTouch? A: Working on the patents related to our innovative services. Q: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? A: Hug Cindy, my wife, and then enjoy multiple bourbons. Q: When you have free time, how do you pass the time? A: I like to run, surf, kayak, and beach metal detect. Q: Favorite animal? A: Besides Zeus, our 7 pound yorkie mix, polar bears. Q: Biggest trend today? A: Maintaining camaraderie and connectedness during this time of “disconnectedness”. People need people and the more ways that we can find to relate to and stay connected with one another, I think, the happier and healthier we will be. Q: What is your favorite home-cooked meal? A: Roasted oysters, PBR, garlic cheese grits, and anything from my deep fryer. Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Butter pecan. Q: Favorite line from a movie? A: From Rudy: “I wish God would put your heart in some of my players’ bodies.” Q: What is your favorite thing about working at MarkeTouch? A: Sounds cliché, but it’s truly being part of a team. A team that counts on each other to do what each individual does bet to reach our and our clients’ goals.
This month, MarkeTouch is pleased to introduce you to Charles Russo, our President and Chief Executive Officer. Charles has been with MarkeTouch for 20 years. Q: What would you name the autobiography of your life? A: Hard Work and a Lot of Luck. Q: Fill in the blank. I once met… A: Neil Armstrong. Q: Are you more productive in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings? A: Mornings, but not too early. Q: What was the first concert you attended? A: The Rolling Stones. Q: What is something you learned in the last week? A: Fly fishing. Q: What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today? A: For me, grandchildren. Q: What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13? A: You only get out what you put in. Don’t expect more until you do more. Q: What advice do you have for someone starting out in the tech space? A: Be as disciplined as possible to your plan, and don’t try to follow every trend. Q: How do you define success? A: Success is different for everyone and is better defined by the people you surround yourself with. Q: What’s your favorite sports team? A: The Houston Astros. Q: One thing you’re willing to spend more money on to make sure you get the best quality? A: I don’t buy a lot of things, but everything I buy, I’m willing to pay for quality. Q: What is your favorite thing about MarkeTouch? A: The amount of effort it has taken to get to this point and the co-workers who helped get us here.
This month, MarkeTouch is pleased to introduce you to Jason Love, our Senior Database Administrator. Jason has been with MarkeTouch for 4 years. Q: What has been your favorite project at MarkeTouch? A: Upgrading the production SQL servers is still at the top. Q: What is the most important trend you see today? A: Data security. Q: If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? A: Build my very own pandemic-proof gym. Q: First place you will visit after COVID-19 travel opens up? A: The beaches of Mexico. Q: When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time? A: Watching HGTV. Q: Favorite sports team? A: Go Astros!! Q: What is something you learned in the last week? A: How to be comfortable in a mask. Q: What chore do you absolutely hate doing? A: Bringing in the trash cans when it’s raining. Q: Favorite childhood TV show? A: Saved by the Bell. Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? A: I enjoy the responsibility for the integrity and security of our customer data. Q: What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this? A: Peloton instructor. Q: What is your favorite thing about working at MarkeTouch? A: Working with a great team of professionals.
This month, MarkeTouch is pleased to introduce you to Kristy Horan, one of our Client Services Senior Account Managers. Kristy has been with MarkeTouch for 12 years. Q: What is a Senior Account Manager? A: I am my clients’ primary contact with MarkeTouch. It is my pleasure to grow, nurture, and manage my accounts on a day-to-day basis. Q: Favorite line from any show? A: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky.” Michael Scott. Q: If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? A: I love to sing (although I probably shouldn’t), but I always thought it would be so much fun to sing in a band. Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? A: A writer. Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most? A: Building relationships with my clients and helping them achieve their goals. Q: Where is your favorite place to eat? A: Brian’s BBQ. Q: Favorite travel spot? A: I’m kind of a homebody, but I would love to visit Ireland to learn more about my heritage. Q: If you could pay someone to do your least favorite chore, what would that be? A: Clean the litter box. Q: First thing you will do when the COVID-19 isolation is over? A: Go to HomeGoods and buy some new throw pillows.
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!
Each month MarkeTouch will be introducing you to one of our team members. This month meet, Lindsey Alexander, our Office Manager and Executive Assistant. Lindsey has been with MarkeTouch for nine months. Q: Favorite work project A: Organizing and attending our annual meeting, not only because I’m a “planner”, but also because I get to put faces to the names of the entire MarkeTouch team! Q: Coolest trend today? A: Autonomous vehicles. I’m super excited to see where that technology takes us as a society! Q: If you won the lottery, what is the 1st thing you would do? A: Hire a really great accountant! Q: When you have 30 minutes, how do you pass the time? A: I love sitting outside listening to my favorite music. Q: If you could be any fictional character, who would it be? A: Leslie Knope from the show Parks and Recreation, she is constantly radiating positivity. Q: Favorite activity? A: Watching reality TV shows and reading the gossip forums about them, particularly The Real Housewives! Q: One chore you absolutely hate doing? A: Laundry! Q: Celebrity look alike? A: I’ve been told I look a little like Maisie Williams. Q: Favorite thing about working at Marketouch? A: I love the people I work for and with! Everyone is always helpful and nice.
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.
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.
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.
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
Recent years have brought unprecedented challenges to the practice of pharmacy. Today, pharmacies are seeing lower profit-per-script from mushrooming generic use and lower margins from the proliferation of closed and limited networks. In anticipation of these and other challenges, MarkeTouch Media has invested heavily in developing truly innovative technology solutions, expanding its platform from custom patient communications to become a full-service clinical provider. MarkeTouch Media’s Clinical Intervention Suite is a robust, fully customizable engine that empowers pharmacists to have targeted clinical conversations with patients while easing workflow burden on pharmacy staff. It includes multiple modules that enable client pharmacies to target and manage specific patient populations while maximizing contract incentives and minimizing penalties. MarkeTouch Media first analyzes the entire patient population, calculates PDC and a proprietary adherence score, notes whether immunizations or other services are needed, and then provides the list of clients to target for interventions, helping the pharmacy meet its contract objectives. Solutions targeted at DIR incentives focus on PDC scores across the entire Payor by drug class, while specialty pharmacy modules focus on patient assessments and data at intervals specific to each drug or disease state. MarkeTouch’s staff applies industry-leading expertise and best practices to effectively deploy clinical programs designed to meet clients’ goals and metrics. In addition, MarkeTouch’s capabilities and scale (a network of more than 15,000 retail pharmacies) enable it to readily run customized pilots for its clients, who can see for themselves the efficacy of the technology in driving down healthcare costs. For instance, MarkeTouch Adherence Interventions could increase PDC scores of targeted drug classes by more than 30 percent in 180 days by identifying and addressing barriers to adherence in retail pharmacy environments. MarkeTouch Media’s RxTouch Pharmacist Connect is a fully hosted solution that streamlines pharmacy operations and allows each patient to choose preferred communication channels for pharmacy interaction. By employing the patients’ channel preferences, the pharmacy can achieve greater adherence and persistency to the prescribed regimen. Each client can select campaigns that ensure targeted patients make a positive impact on quality and operational metrics—resulting in a maximized ROI, reduced overall healthcare costs and, ultimately, better clinical outcomes for patients.