UPMC Rx Express Impacting Pharmacy Operations and Improving Outcomes

Working closely with leaders from across the health system – including pharmacists, clinicians, and operational leaders – UPMC has built an AI-powered virtual assistant and pharmacy relationship management platform to provide white-glove pharmacy service to patients at scale.

The service, called UPMC Rx Express, is an easy and convenient way for patients to fill prescriptions and receive complementary support services, including education. Patients receive automated outreach via SMS (Text Message) or Robocall and prompt intervention when they indicate a question or issue with obtaining medication. For the health system and pharmacy, UPMC Rx Express drives increased service levels and improves patient outcomes.

More than 50% of patients responded during the pilot program, which achieved a 200% increase in refill adherence activity for hospital-run pharmacies. Automatic follow-up facilitated the offloading of more than 4,000 calls per month from pharmacies.

Pharmacy-related issues, including medication access, cost, and non-adherence, lead to poor health outcomes for patients and added downstream costs for hospitals and health systems. The statistics surrounding non-adherence are staggering – nearly 30% of patients never pick up their prescription, and half of the patients on long-term treatments do not take their medications as prescribed. It is estimated that non-adherence drives $300 billion in avoidable health care costs each year.

UPMC Rx Express is currently live at 10 hospitals, 11 retail pharmacies, and two outpatient clinics – and supports more than 50,000 patients annually.

As hospital-run pharmacies face continued external challenges, programs proven to increase medication adherence, impact clinical outcomes, and improve the service performance of pharmacies will be critical. Visit the UPMC Rx Express website to learn more.