Collaboration to examine how automated, self-service pharmacy centers can provide insured, underinsured and uninsured patients with a more affordable and convenient pharmacy experience
Convenience is the new currency among consumers looking for faster, easier, always-accessible services to conform to their daily lives. As a result, the economy's next big evolution may impact how tens of millions of people get their prescription drugs. That's the vision of Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX), which today announced a strategic investment in MedAvail, a leading healthcare technology company behind self-service pharmacy centers.
"Technology -- and a culture shift -- allow us the opportunity to evolve and simplify healthcare services to better accommodate our busy schedules, which in turn can lead to better adherence and outcomes," said Glen Stettin, M.D., Chief Innovation Officer at Express Scripts. "Through our work with MedAvail's prescription dispensing technology, we are examining how MedCenter™, MedAvail's self-service, pharmacist-supported, kiosk pharmacies can provide patients with safe and cost-effective pharmacy care close to where they live, work or get their medical care."
MedCenter can safely and securely dispense chronic, acute and over-the-counter medications under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. Compatible with both handwritten and electronic prescriptions, MedCenter can dispense a prescription in under 90 seconds. People who use MedCenter may have 24/7 access to comprehensive, multi-lingual pharmacist service through private audio-visual communications built into the pharmacy center, as well as an integrated smartphone app. Licensed pharmacists perform the professional functions associated with prescription dispensing, including review of medical history, allergy, potential interaction with other drugs being taken, and patient counseling, so safety concerns can be addressed prior to picking up the prescription.
"This consumer experience can do for pharmacy care what the ATM did for personal banking – enable greater access and efficiency, especially during times of immediate need, while streamlining the experience for those consumers who need expert counsel and support from a pharmacist," said Dr. Stettin. "We believe this technology, when deployed on a larger scale, could have the potential to bring pharmacy dispensing to employer sites, hospital emergency rooms, community clinics and university campuses. This technology also could help community pharmacists increase their community presence and the efficiency of their operations, relieve congestion at retail pharmacy counters, extend a pharmacy's hours of operation, and allow pharmacists to focus on their important role in providing clinical care to patients."
This pilot is beginning in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, where six MedCenters are now available in a variety of locations including grocery stores, pharmacies and medical clinics, with total of 15 to be deployed by the end of 2018. Express Scripts members living in these areas -- and customers of the Inside RxSM prescription savings program that provides discounts on medications to people who are uninsured or underinsured -- can choose to fill their medication at one of these MedCenters. Over the course of the next year, we will expand access to MedCenters in several states, including additional locations in Arizona and new locations in Illinois, to thousands of Express Scripts members.
Investing for the Future Express Scripts' investment in MedAvail is being made through the Lewis & Clark Ventures Fund for Healthcare Innovation. The Fund supports the company's ongoing efforts to innovate smarter pharmacy solutions that deliver better outcomes for patients. In addition, as part of the agreement, Dr. Stettin will join the MedAvail Board of Directors.
"This strategic collaboration leverages our state-of-the-art technology to provide the most advanced self-service pharmacy care to Express Scripts' broad network of members," said Ed Kilroy, CEO, MedAvail Technologies. "There is a tremendous demand for this type of technological solution to enhance the pharmacy experience, and Express Scripts' forward-thinking approach makes it an excellent partner in bringing anywhere, anytime pharmacy to millions of Americans."