OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients with diabetes who
received prescribed heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the
emergency room than those who picked up prescriptions in person, according to a
new Kaiser Permanente study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
The study examined 17,217 adult Kaiser Permanente members with diabetes who were
first prescribed heart medications in 2006 and followed them for three years. It
found that diabetes patients under age 65 who used mail order pharmacy had
significantly fewer emergency room visits for any cause than those who picked up
prescriptions (33.8 percent vs. 40.2 percent, respectively).
This study is the first to examine the potential impacts of mail order pharmacy
on patient safety and utilization, and explores the concern of patients
experiencing adverse outcomes because they do not meet face-to-face with a
"Overall, we didn't see any safety concerns," said Julie A. Schmittdiel, PhD,
research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the
study's lead author. "For the vast majority of people, mail order pharmacy works
Kaiser Permanente offers members the options of using its mail order pharmacy or
picking up prescriptions at walk-in pharmacies located in Kaiser Permanente
hospitals and outpatient medical buildings. Medications can be delivered by mail
with free shipping; mail order requests can be made by phone or online; and mail
order copayments are often lower for the same supply as walk-in pharmacies.
The study did not look at possible reasons why the use of mail order pharmacies
was associated with fewer emergency room visits, but researchers noted that
further investigation may involve exploring factors such as patients having
disabilities, time constraints or limited transportation.
This study is part of Kaiser Permanente's ongoing efforts to understand how mail
order pharmacies can improve care. Schmittdiel's previous studies have shown
that patients who use mail order pharmacy have significantly better medication
adherence and cholesterol management.
Kaiser Permanente can conduct transformational health research in part because
it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health system in the
world. The organization's electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente
HealthConnect(R), securely connects 9.1 million patients to 16,000 physicians in
600 medical offices and 38 hospitals. It also connects Kaiser Permanente's
research scientists to one of the most extensive collections of longitudinal
medical data available, facilitating studies and important medical discoveries
that shape the future of health and care delivery for patients and the medical
In addition to Schmittdiel, co-authors of the study were Andrew J. Karter, PhD,
and Wendy Dyer, MS, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research; James Chan, PharmD,
PhD, Pharmacy Outcomes Research Group, Kaiser Permanente Northern California;
and O. Kenrik Duru, MD, MSHS, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of
California, Los Angeles.
The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division
of Diabetes Translation.
About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes and disseminates
epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical
care of Kaiser Permanente members and society at large. It seeks to understand
the determinants of illness and well-being, and to improve the quality and
cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR's 550-plus staff is working on
more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects. For more
information, visit www.dor.kaiser.org or follow us @KPDOR.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We
are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and
not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide
high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our
members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in
eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is
focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians,
specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are
empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for
health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and
world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care
innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community
health. For more information, go to kp.org/share.
For more information, contact:
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente