Event Buzz: Pharmacy, Hospital and Alternate Sites 8/10/2015
Millions of people are prescribed medications each year, but unless these patients are taking them consistently and on schedule, there will continue to be gaps in the efficacy of care. With outcome based payment models becoming increasingly more prevalent, it is essential that the healthcare industry invests resources in finding new techniques and technology that helps patients adhere to proscribed medication regimens.
During ECRM’s June pharmacy events, which covered retail pharmacy, Rx tech, branded and generic pharmaceuticals, ECRM staff held one-on-one interviews with attendees to discuss industry trends, challenges and opportunities in these areas. During these discussions, adherence was top-of-mind as retail pharmacies, hospitals and other healthcare providers are exploring innovative ways to deliver it.
Among some of the solutions discussed were:
Addressing adherence at the beginning of the patient care cycle via communication and process improvements. For example, by aligning all patient refills for the same day pickup, pharmacies are able to help eliminate multiple trips to the pharmacy which increases the chances that the patient will actually pick up their medications on the appropriate date.
For those already in the midst of their patient care cycle, intervention programs are another technique that more and more retail pharmacies are beginning to implement to maintain adherence. Through these intervention programs, pharmacists are able to identify patients that are not sticking to their medication regimens. Then, with the appropriate behavioral training, pharmacists can connect with patients to follow up on the identified adherence concerns. This technique goes above and behind the traditional pharmacist role but is an effective way to positively change patient behavior.
Automated reminder programs are also gaining traction as means to increase patient adherence. Timely reminders letting patients know that they are due for a re-fill or that their medication is ready for pick up. Such reminders can come in a variety of vehicles including a phone call, text message or email depending on the patient’s preference. They can even come via electronic medication packaging that tracks compliance and alerts patients when it’s time for their next dose.
In an effort to streamline workflow and dispensing, central fill has become a popular addition for many pharmacies. By concentrating prescription filling efforts into one location, retail pharmacists are able to dedicate more time to focusing on the patient rather than dispensing tasks. Additionally, since central fill also creates opportunity to mail prescriptions directly to the patient’s home, it can help increase patient adherence for those patients with mobility issues.
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