Survival of the Most Compliant

  • by: |
  • 04/18/2012

They’ve got a list.  And they’re checking it twice.

The giant PBM Express Scripts is launching ScreenRx, a program that uses a computer to sift through hundreds of factors that affect patients and forecast who is most likely to forget a refill or simply stop taking their drugs. The company then plans to contact those patients to help them stick with their doctor's orders.

It’s estimated that about $317 billion in additional medical expenses were incurred by the U.S. health care system last year because people didn't comply with prescriptions. These additional expenses might include a heart attack for someone who stops taking cholesterol medicines or an amputation for someone who doesn't adhere to diabetes treatment.

The analysis, called predictive modeling sorts through more than 400 variables that could affect a patient to see which people have enough red flags to warrant concern.

Once a patient has been flagged, they receive a phone call. An Express Scripts representative will talk to the person to see if they need help. The PBM then might send the patient a pillbox if they have a hard time remembering their prescriptions or a special beeper that goes off when it's time to take medicine.

If the patient struggles to pay for the drugs, Express Scripts will provide information on assistance programs.

According to a report in the Washington Post, “Analysts say predictive modeling programs that aim to forecast patient behavior and improve care have been evolving in health care over the past few years, and the Express Scripts product is the latest evolution.”

Survival of the most compliant. Would Darwin have approved?


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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