Cloud-based services company PrescribeWellness, based in Irvine, CA, is finding that the enhancements to its PharmacyGrowth solution tool are improving medication compliance while helping pharmacies to grow their businesses. The solution, which delivers prescription reminder notifications in the pharmacist’s own voice, now allows patients to receive an expanded series of relevant communications via text, email, or phone.
We’re at a tipping point,” in health care, Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness, told Drug Topics. “Both the payer and the consumer are recognizing that pharmacy is about more than safely dispensing meds. The pharmacist, the most trusted health-care professional, has a role to play in helping people develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. The pharmacy should be thought of as the center of wellness for the community,” Babbington said.
“As a patient-centric pharmacy, you need tools to help you identify and support all of a patient’s health-care needs. Our new data show that PharmacyGrowth is a powerful and effective tool for community pharmacies to communicate and engage with their patients,” said Perry Reed, Patient Communications Manager at PrescribeWellness. “Not only does it help patients stay compliant and on their medications for better health, it also drives refills, prescription volume, loyalty, and repeat business.” New internal data from PrescribeWellness point to specific results via use of PharmacyGrowth including:
Increased Prescription Volume: Annual prescription volume was eight times the national average for community pharmacies in 2016.
More Satisfied Patients: Online customer ratings for pharmacies that use PharmacyGrowth average 15% higher than those that do not.
Higher Star Ratings: Pharmacies using PharmacyGrowth average a 4.4 Star score.
The system is web-based and pharmacies gain access via an interface with PrescribeWellness, Babbington explained. Through PharmacyGrowth, patient data can be analyzed daily, and patient specific health-care needs are identified. For example, the pharmacist will be able to identify patients who are cognitively impaired, who have diabetes, or who can benefit from information on smoking cessation. Because the system is automated, it does not disrupt pharmacy workflow.
Once identified, patients will then be contacted to see if they would like to receive the recorded messages. “About 2% of patients will opt out of receiving the messages,” Babbington said, “but most patients welcome the personal attention.” He added that once a patient opts into the system, the means of communication will be identified. “Baby boomers still love the telephone, so the phone may be selected as the primary mode of communication for that demographic group.”
With the expansion of the tool, messages to patients go beyond the automated call that tells the patient it is time for a refill. For example, the system may be customized so a patient who is cognitively impaired and taking a large number of medications will receive two or three reminder calls a day, Babbington said. A patient with diabetes mayreceive communications about diabetes education. At Magnolia Pharmacy in Magnolia, TX, patients with possible attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder receive communication in which they are encouraged to come in to speak to the pharmacist and learn more about their condition.
Steve Hoffart, PharmD, President of Magnolia Pharmacy, said he has used the PharmacyGrowth solution for four years. “I can use the system to improve adherence and compliance and grow my business without having to add more staff or do anything else that would require a cost output,” he said.
In addition to targeting individual patients, Hoffart told Drug Topics that he uses Pharmacy Growth for seasonal and other campaigns. Patients receive calls urging them to get flu shots, or patients over the age of 50 are encouraged to learn more about shingles and receive the vaccine.
Hoffart can tangibly see the results of implementing the tool. “I now have five stars in all categories in the Medicare Star ratings,” Hoffart explained. “Sometimes, it’s just one or two refills a year that that can determine a patient’s compliance. PharmacyGrowth lets me identify those missing doses. And my prescription volume has been growing at 3% to 6%. Because patients are encouraged to be adherent, they are coming into the store to have their prescriptions refilled. When patients hear my voice on the phone, it encourages loyalty,” Hoffart said.