Medication non-adherence is a serious issue in the medical community. When patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, it can have a serious impact on their outcomes, as well as their overall health and well-being.
Still, studies have found that 40-50 percent of patients with chronic conditions don’t take their prescriptions, and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, declining medication adherence has become even more of a concern. In fact, COVID-19 has completely changed how pharmacists view medication adherence, with many factors contributing to non-adherence, from lost health insurance and financial struggles to social distancing and the impact of isolation on mental health.
As medication experts, pharmacists play a critical role in promoting medication adherence. Many pharmacists are combating non-adherence by implementing a medication synchronization (med sync) program. Medication synchronization, or when the pharmacist coordinates the refill of medications so patients can pick them up on a single day each month, is incredibly effective when it comes to boosting adherence—not to mention increasing profits and improving outcomes.
While many pharmacists would argue that med sync is the future of pharmacy, the challenge lies in finding the time to bring a quality program to fruition. With their role continually evolving and expanding, pharmacists are already stretched thin. Freeing up time to launch a new med sync program may prove daunting, or even impossible without the right tools to set you up for success.
Here’s what you need to know about finding the time for a quality medication synchronization program at your pharmacy.
Improving Medication Adherence with a Med Sync Program
Many people miss doses of their regular medications, especially older adults and those with chronic conditions who likely take multiple drugs, multiple times a day. Implementing a med sync program can increase the likelihood that patients will take their medications as prescribed, ultimately improving adherence and your business profitability in the process.
According to the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPA), medication synchronization improves care quality and increases prescription volume for independent pharmacies—and that’s not all. Medication synchronization is a low-risk, high-return investment for your pharmacy. There are many of benefits, some less obvious than others, associated with medication synchronization, such as:
- Streamlined pharmacy operations
- Increased opportunities for patient care
- Reduced inventory on the shelf
- Targeted patient consultations
- Decreased calls and interruptions
Most importantly of all, medication adherence proves to be significantly greater among med sync patients. Why’s that? Medication synchronization improves adherence by bundling medications, which helps decrease the frequency of pharmacy visits and reduce the negative effects of forgetfulness and complicated regimens.
Studies have shown remarkable results. For example, med sync patients are over 2.5 times more likely to be adherent to medications, and 21 percent less likely to discontinue drug therapy. Medication synchronization also reduces emergency department visits and unnecessary hospitalizations.
Finding Time for Medication Synchronization at Your Pharmacy
Implementing a med sync program shows that you are putting your patients’ needs, care, and safety first—just as it should be. With that said, it’s difficult to find and dedicate time to building out a top-quality med sync program that’s effective at improving adherence and patient outcomes.
However, modern pharmacy technology can help you build a quality med sync program without taking time away from patients and other daily responsibilities.
FDS ENGAGE is a pharmacy patient management solution designed to help community pharmacies put an end to medication non-adherence, increase U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) star ratings, take advantage of low-hanging fruit opportunities to improve, and offer enhanced health and wellness services for all patients.
For example, an increasing number of independent pharmacists are taking a more active role in healthcare by expanding their pharmacy’s clinical care services to include immunizations, diabetes management, blood pressure screenings, diagnostic testing, targeted patient care alerts, medication therapy management, and medical equipment.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further accelerated the shift toward pharmacists becoming trusted community caregivers, presenting the opportunity to offer point-of-care testing for the virus and to eventually administer a vaccine when it becomes available. As pharmacists rise to the challenge, the need for advanced pharmacy automation software like FDS ENGAGE is becoming even more apparent.
Implementing a Med Sync Program to Improve Profits and Adherence
Implementing a med sync program is beneficial to both patients and pharmacists alike—and it shows through improved medication adherence, increased profitability, streamlined operations, and better care outcomes. For pharmacists like Ben McNabb, PharmD, owner of Love Oak Pharmacy in Eastland Texas, using FDS ENGAGE to develop a med sync program has proven very beneficial.
Before Love Oak Pharmacy implemented a medication synchronization program, one patient not adhering to one drug as prescribed cost $8,000. With numbers like this, you can imagine the significant financial impact medication non-adherence can have on a pharmacy. “The pharmacies that will win, ultimately, are the ones willing to take non-adherent patients and fix the problem,” McNabb said. “You have to learn to prioritize and shift some of your time toward patients that are hard to treat.”
Along with managing a med sync program to improve adherence, ENGAGE also flags non-adherent patients and allows pharmacies to offer adherence packaging that encourages patients to take their medications between pharmacy visits. Love Oak Pharmacy grew their program by leveraging these benefits and more.
After implementing a med sync program using ENGAGE, Love Oak Pharmacy improved adherence, profits, and CMS star ratings—and with the right strategy and solution, you can reap the same rewards, ultimately going from medication frustration to medication synchronization. Voilà, med sync made easy! Want to see for yourself how much of a difference a med sync program can make for your pharmacy? Try out our Med Sync Value Calculator to see if it makes sense for your pharmacy—and just how profitable a med sync program can be.