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ARTICLE My Medication Reminders

The consequences of not taking medications as prescribed – or at all – can be serious, especially for people managing chronic diseases. To achieve the best health outcomes, medications must be taken as prescribed by a physician.

The My Medication Reminders program from OptumRx™ can help members maintain their medication routine with convenient text alerts. Members can access the program and set up reminders from the online member portal or by using the OptumRx mobile site from a smartphone.

The user enters a phone number and specifies their time zone. They then select from the following reminders:

  • Refills
  • Renewals
  • Transfers (from retail to mail)
  • Order shipment
  • General medication reminders (once a day, user picks the day)
  • Medication-specific

For medication-specific reminders, the user selects a medication from a list based on the medications they take. Users can choose reminders for as many prescribed medications as they wish. The user must then indicate the frequency of the reminder, which should correspond to the prescribed dosage schedule. For example, the user could specify "three times per day." Then, the user can specify what those three times of the day ought to be, e.g. 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.

The program is available through all major mobile brands and providers. Additional features of the program include the ability to set up text message reminders to refill a prescription or to transfer a prescription from a retail pharmacy to a mail order pharmacy.

Data from a recent study1 of members taking diabetes medications supports that the program is having an impact. Approximately 3,600 Medicare members and 2,100 commercial plan members participated, with an average age of 63. When compared to a similar control group that did not sign up to receive text reminders, those receiving My Medication Reminders had a 9 percent higher medication adherence rate.

Based on previous studies evaluating the health care costs associated with improved diabetes medication adherence2, this would translate into an estimated total health care savings of $724 per year for each participant.

My Medication Reminders is an example of how technology can be incorporated into helping members manage their health and achieve better health outcomes.

  1. OptumRx internal study, October 2011
  2. Sokol et al. Impact of medication adherence on hospitalization risk and health care costs. Med Care 2005;43:521-530.