How to Improve Medication Adherence Within the Pharmacy


Kelly Malkamaki, RPh, senior product pharmacy analyst at AssureCare, shared her experience and thoughts on medication adherence in the pharmacy.

At the April 2024 Total Pharmacy Solutions Summit, held virtually on April 13, Kelly Malkamaki, RPh, senior product pharmacy analyst at AssureCare, led a discussion on the role of medication adherence in the pharmacy. The session, titled “The Crucial Role Medication Adherence Plays in Pharmacy Today,” focused on the medication adherence, the factors affecting it, tools for improving it, and the impact it has on pharmacies today.

“The [FDA] states that medication adherence, or taking medications correctly, is generally defined as the extent to which patients take medications as prescribed by their doctors,” said Malkamaki. “This involves factors such as getting prescriptions filled, remembering to take medications on time, and understanding the directions.”

In the pharmacy and other health care settings, medication adherence is of the utmost importance for minimizing errors and adverse side effects for patients. Not fulfilling medication adherence standards, or non-adherence, can be crucial to patient outcomes and create further financial and societal issues.

“We know that 50% to 60% of patients take their medications improperly or not at all. The results of these statistics can account for up to 50% of treatment failures, roughly 125,000 deaths annually, up to 25% of hospitalizations each year in the United States. These non-adherent statistics account for over $500 billion in healthcare costs annually,” continued Malkamaki.

After she presented statistics highlighting the importance of medication adherence, Malkamaki discussed ways pharmacists can ensure adherence on a daily basis.

She discussed patient communication and the simple but effective ways to overcome any barriers in this regard. The best ways to establish efficient communications with patients, Malkamaki said, are to simplify medication instructions and packaging, offer education on patients’ prescriptions, and use interpreter services for patients with a language barrier.

“It is now more important than ever to put the needs of patients at the forefront of healthcare. Medication adherence continues to be an essential component of patient care plans to promote optimal treatment and outcomes,” concluded Malkamaki.

Explore more of our coverage from the Total Pharmacy Solutions Summit Spring 2024: Elevating Patient-Centric Care.

Spring 2024: Elevating Patient-Centric Care
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