It's the Pharmacist Calling

People were more likely to fill prescriptions when they got a reminder phone call

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) When life is busy, a trip to the pharmacy for a new prescription can be a hassle. A recent study found that a reminder might be helpful.

People in the study were more likely to fill their new prescription at the pharmacy when they got a phone call to remind them.

These researchers found an automated phone call may help patients remember to fill their prescriptions.

"Ask about phone apps to track your Rx."

Researchers, led by Stephen F. Derose, MD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, enrolled people who had just gotten new prescriptions. All the people in the study received a prescription for a statin to lower cholesterol and were patients of Kaiser Permanente in southern California.

A total of 2,606 people got an automated phone call to remind them to fill the scrip one week after they got it. Then, a letter was sent a week after that if they still had not filled their prescription. Another set of 2,610 people got no reminders about their new prescription. The researchers looked to see who filled their prescriptions and when. 

The people that got the reminders were 1.6 times more likely to fill the prescription.

The authors concluded that the reminders helped some people to get their prescriptions filled. They said the system was a simple and fairly low-cost method with today’s technologies.

However, the study did not look at whether or not people actually took their drug as directed. The study also did not test the system on refills.  The authors suggest that this system might work for other types of medications – not just cholesterol drugs.

Currently, most pharmacies and doctor’s offices do not have systems in place for automated reminders. Cell phone apps may give personal options for reminders until other systems are available from pharmacies.

This study was published November 26 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study was funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 28, 2012
Last Updated:
March 14, 2013