Caremark iPhone App – Will Others Follow?

CVS Caremark announced today that they were releasing a Caremark iPhone application. First, I think it’s about time (for some PBM to do this). I would think the other PBMs will follow suit.

Second, I think this is a great opportunity for an expanded CVS Caremark iPhone application which expands the functionality of the app and is like Maintenance Choice in that it offers a benefit of the integrated company.

Today’s application is PBM centric and focused on ordering refills (I assume at mail only); checking prescription order history (I assume mail only); viewing prescription history; requesting a new prescription (retail-to-mail I believe); checking drug cost; and finding a nearby network pharmacy. Checking drug cost could be the coolest feature since it would give patients what they don’t have today – an ability to check the cost while they’re at the physician’s office. Finding a network pharmacy is an important tool if companies were to promote limited networks, but it’s only a nice to have if all the pharmacies are in the network.

So, of course the question that I would have is when will they add the retail components to request retail refills (at CVS stores or all locations); check status of prescriptions (e.g., prior auth required); request a renewal of an Rx; request a lower cost alternative; find a CVS with a MinuteClinic; or identify opportunities to save money (e.g., a generic alternative).

There are lots of other things to push out via the application, but I agree with the strategy of focusing on the core applications first. Caremark (or other PBMs) could push clinical suggestions; send adherence reminders; do satisfaction surveys; collect barrier data (why not adherent); and collect information (why not using generics). I also see it as a great way to push tools – e.g., 5 questions to ask your physician when you get a new Rx.

It would be interesting to see the statistics in a year – how many downloads of the app; how frequently is it used; patient satisfaction with the Caremark for those with the app (vs those without); adherence for those that use the application; what functions work best; savings versus other modes of communication; and effectiveness of their appliction versus other health applications.

One Response to “Caremark iPhone App – Will Others Follow?”

  1. Geroge, are you familiar with laws around electronic transmission of prescription? (other than secure fax line)

    Some banks let you take front/back picture of check using iphone to make deposits. I wonder why this couldn’t be done with prescriptions as long as couple of conditions are met:
    1. Image transmission is encrypted
    2. Put limit on classes of drugs that quality for this type of order

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