MedStar and CVS Show Results in Improving Medication Compliance | MedStar Health

MedStar and CVS Show Results in Improving Medication Compliance

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A CVS pharmacy prescription box

Columbia, Md. (Tuesday, May 2, 2017) —Taking medications on schedule is an important aspect of self-care, but keeping track of prescriptions can be hard for consumers, especially if they take multiple medications. The challenge is not merely one of scheduling or convenience. The result of not taking medicines as prescribed, or medication nonadherence, is estimated to contribute to more than 100,000 deaths per year and 10 percent of hospitalizations, while costing the healthcare system billions of dollars a year.

MedStar Health and CVS Pharmacy are tackling the issue with a new service called Multi-dose Packs that supplies all the medications an individual needs to take at the same time of day in customized, easy-open packets. The packets are clearly marked with the time of day and date for taking the medications, so it’s easy to keep track of scheduled doses.    

The dosing system is designed for individuals whose condition is stable, who have not had a recent hospitalization and who take six or more medications a day, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Consumers receive a 30-day supply of medications that is boxed in a continuous roll of Multi-dose Packs. The cost is about the same as what would be paid at a CVS Pharmacy. Multi-dose Packs are delivered directly to the home by Fed-Ex or to a local CVS Pharmacy for pickup. There is no charge for delivery.

“A large obstacle to effective treatment is that many patients don’t follow their medication schedules,” said Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, MedStar Health executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer. “Patients can become confused about when they are supposed to take medicines or whether they have taken this or that medication. The Multi-dose Packs system makes it easy for patients to adhere to their medication schedule, which is very important for managing their health.”

In a recent, highly successful pilot program with a group of MedStar patients, medication adherence went from 60 percent to 91 percent, demonstrating the effectiveness of Multi-dose Packs. In making the service available through all MedStar physicians, MedStar is the first health system in the United States to fully deploy Multi-dose Packs.  

MedStar physicians can review a patient’s electronic health record and electronically send a list of the patient’s medications to CVS, which will prepare and ship the medication box each month.

“We are pleased to continue working with MedStar to help enhance patients’ access to care and improve health outcomes,” said Andrew Sussman, MD, executive vice president of Clinical Services and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health. “With this innovative program, we will help make it easier for patients to keep track of all their medications and complex dosing schedules, so they have one less thing to worry about.”

CVS Health and MedStar Health began their collaboration in 2014, when the two organizations announced a clinical affiliation to provide coordinated care services such as medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring for MedStar patients through CVS  MinuteClinic locations in its retail pharmacies.  In addition, CVS Health provides critical prescription and visit information to the affiliated healthcare providers through the integration of secured electronic health record systems.


About MedStar Health 
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit

Contact: Ann Nickels, 410-772-6661 (6678),

Pill packets 

Pill pouches are clearly marked by date, time of day, and contents