Med synchronization, pharmacist meeting is winning combination

December 2, 2013

Medication adherence can be greatly improved when pharmacists meet with patients and synchronize their meds.

Medication adherence and persistence with chronic medications can be greatly improved with appointment-based medication synchronization (ABMS), according to a study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA).

In a study of patients from Thrifty White Pharmacy, a chain of community pharmacies in the rural Midwest, the pharmacist established the first synchronization date based on one medication. Physicians were notified about enrollment in the ABMS program by patients or the pharmacist. A centralized refill center filled the prescriptions a week before the sync date, addressing all possible therapy or prescription issues. The patient received a pickup call 3 days before the sync date.

Patients enrolled in the study had received at least 2 refills for one of six types of medications: ACEIs or ARBs, beta-blockers, DCCBs, thiazide diuretics, metformin, and statins. The study was conducted between June 30, 2011 and October 31, 2012.

“Depending on the drug class, patients enrolled in the medication synchronization program (n=47-81) had adherence rates of 66.1% to 75.5% during 1 year versus 37.0% to 40.8% among control patients,” said David A. Holdford, BSPharm, MS, PhD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, and co-author Timothy J. Inocencio PharmD, PhD, of Avalere Health LLC.

Patients enrolled in the ABMS program had 3.4 to 6.1 times greater odds of adherence than those not part of the program. In addition, nonpersistence within 1 year of the ABMS program was 34% to 48% for enrolled patients versus 52% to 73% in the control group, Holdford and Inocencio noted.

“The ABMS program allows pharmacists to proactively manage patients’ medication-related needs. The appointment with the pharmacists provides an opportunity without distractions for the pharmacist to engage in mutual problem solving about issues related to physical impairments, lack of affordability, low literacy, and lack of social support,” the authors wrote.

Also, they said that synchronization helps with simplifying therapeutic regimens, improves access to care for patients with limited transportation, and provides pharmacists with the opportunity to provide medication therapy management and other clinical services.