How FDS Engage helped an independent pharmacy improve adherence through medication synchronization
Medication non-adherence is a serious issue. When a patient does not take their medication as prescribed, it causes problems — for both the patient AND the pharmacy.
For the patient, non-adherence often has a negative effect on health outcomes. Changing the frequency, dosage, or even the time of day a patient takes their medication can have serious repercussions on their health and well-being.
For the pharmacy, patient non-adherence can torpedo Star Ratings, increasing DIR fees and potentially decreasing the number of Medicare networks that will work with the store. Unfavorable patient outcomes can also damage the pharmacy’s reputation within the community.
There’s a lot at stake here.
As the owner of Love Oak Pharmacy in Eastland, Texas, Ben McNabb, PharmD, has dedicated himself to improving medication adherence in his patients and in his community. And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2018, the NCPA awarded McNabb its Outstanding Adherence Practitioner Award. McNabb, an APRx customer, has shown that he’s not afraid of a challenge. “The pharmacies that will win, ultimately, are the ones willing to take non-adherent patients and fix the problem,” said McNabb. “You have to learn to prioritize and shift some of your time toward patients that are hard to treat.”
McNabb had a plan. He just needed the tools.
The Problem of Non-Adherence
According to McNabb, the average Love Oak Pharmacy customer takes eleven prescriptions. Patient non-adherence on even one of those had already proven to be costly in the past. “In one case,” McNabb remembered, “one patient not adhering to one drug cost [our pharmacy] $8,000.”
In addition to lost potential revenue, non-adherence can sink Star Ratings. To increase their own star ratings with CMS, health care plans will often rework their preferred networks to include only pharmacies with high Star Ratings. If a pharmacy has a higher percentage of non-adherent patients, they are less likely to be included in preferred networks.
“A lot of pharmacies don’t know how much money is on the line and how much could be retrievable through an improvement in their scores,” said McNabb. “Some [pharmacy] owners act like they’ve almost given up on their scores.”
While McNabb, like many other pharmacists, feels the criteria used to judge a pharmacy’s value and effectiveness are not always fair, he still rises to the challenge. “We’re left to play by the rules that have been set before us,” said McNabb. “We have to do what we can with the system we have.”
One thing Love Oak Pharmacy could do, McNabb determined, was implement and offer a medication synchronization program.
Improving Adherence with Med Sync
One key to maintaining adherence is to establish a routine. Medication synchronization allows all of a patient’s prescriptions to be picked up from the pharmacy at the same time each month. Always adherence-minded, McNabb saw opportunity. Implementing a med sync plan would put his patients at the counter on the same day of every month. “How are we going to leverage that interaction and that extra time we have with those patients to keep them on their care plan?” he asked himself.
McNabb and his team were able to offer consultations and advice when patients came to pick up their prescriptions for the month. Combined with an adherence packaging initiative, medication synchronization with FDS ENGAGE would allow Love Oak Pharmacy to provide the kind of care their community deserved while boosting the pharmacy’s revenue.
Enabling Extra Care
A CPESN luminary, McNabb has developed a reputation for going above and beyond what is expected of today’s pharmacists. As an example, Love Oak Pharmacy has recently introduced pointof-care testing, like strep and flu testing. They were also recently certified in diabetic care. For McNabb, it’s important that his community has access to the resources it needs, regardless of regular office hours. “A pharmacy,” he said, “can many times be the only place someone can get healthcare advice and care during those non-physician hours.”
That’s why FDS ENGAGE is so important. While many other platforms ensure the health of your pharmacy and your business, FDS ENGAGE also ensures the health of your patients. And with value-based care initiatives coming into play, the healthier your patients are, the healthier your pharmacy is.
Love Oak Pharmacy is a thriving, innovative practice in Eastland, Texas, 100 miles west of Fort Worth. With a deep commitment to patient adherence, the pharmacy team consists of over 20 dedicated providers, including husband and wife co-owners Ben and Heather McNabb.