In the world of community-based pharmacy, Tyson Drugs, a CPESN pharmacy located in Holly Springs, Mississippi, is an established leader in practice transformation. Through their innovative medication synchronization program, Tyson Drug Company earned a reputation for excellence in patient care. With the ever-increasing importance of medication adherence, workflow management and positive workplace culture in community pharmacy practice, the team at Tyson Drugs has an operations model that should be shared with other community pharmacies.
Chelsea Anderson, Chief Financial Officer, and Weston Humphreys, Chief Operations Officer, have been vital members of the Tyson Drugs team for over a decade. Together the CPESN Beacons explain how Tyson Drug Company, has successfully paired medication synchronization (Med Sync) with Parata pharmacy automation systems to improve patient outcomes, lower costs, and create a better workplace culture.
Medication adherence is a crucial aspect of pharmacy practice and patient health outcomes. A common challenge many patients have in taking their medications as prescribed is forgetfulness. “Our Med Sync program is strong, but we knew from talking with patients’ that many of them were forgetting to take their medication, resulting in several missed doses each month,” said Humphreys. To address this barrier, Tyson Drugs took their innovative Med Sync program to the next level. Using the Parata Pass machine to offer compliance packaging—which organize patients’ medications by dose, date, and time—their patients are no longer absent-mindedly missing doses and medication adherence rates have increased significantly.
As proof to the value in partnering Med Sync with automation technology solutions, Humphreys pointed to their patient data, “Our patients not enrolled in Med Sync have an average adherence rate of 65-70%, whereas patients on Med Sync but filled in traditional vials have an adherence rate of 90%, and now patients on Med Sync that use compliance packaging have an adherence rate of 95% or greater.”
Inventory management is another crucial aspect of pharmacy practice. Poor inventory management can lead to unnecessary cash flow issues for a community pharmacy. However, Tyson Drug Company leverages Med Sync and inventory management strategies to keep costs down and increase inventory turns. Using their Med Sync calendar to plan ahead, the staff can order necessary inventory just a few days before the patient runs out, rather than having high-cost items sit on the shelf for weeks. It is easier to see the impact of their approach by looking at a recent example.
"Comparing Tyson Drugs is hard because we've been perfecting Med Sync here since 2008,” Anderson said. "We should use the numbers from a recent pharmacy purchase where we implemented our approach and had great success." In 2018, Tyson Drug Company acquired a nearby independent pharmacy which filled an average of 8000 prescriptions a month. At the time of purchase, that 1 pharmacy had a staggering $800,000 in inventory, with no patients enrolled in Med Sync. Today, the newly operated pharmacy fills 80% of its prescriptions through Med Sync and all 4 of the Tyson Drug Company pharmacies share an inventory of less than $300,000 combined.
Workflow productivity is also an important aspect of a pharmacy practice. As community pharmacies are challenged to meet increased demands, effectively managing workflow can be overwhelming. Yet, Tyson Drugs demonstrates how integrating technology partners in the pharmacy can improve workflow and reduce workload. Parata automation systems offer targeted solutions to streamline prescription filling, dispensing, and verification processes.
“The Parata machines are a part of the Tyson team,” Anderson joked. “The staff even has names for each of them and we refer to them by name daily.” Their two Parata Max machines, known by Tyson staff as The Maxines, provide the benefits of counting, filling, labeling and capping the prescription. Then there is Pete, the Parata Pass, used for adherence packaging. To round out the team they have Pearl, the Parata Perl, which aids in verification and imaging of the compliance packaging once complete.
By strategically enhancing workflow productivity, Tyson Drugs has unlocked the secret to a positive workplace culture. The efficiency allows extra time for staff to devote their efforts to providing enhanced patient-care services and professional development, which benefits the pharmacy practice and their patients overall. When asked about the impact it has on their patients, Anderson explained. “It creates the hours we can dedicate to providing extra services and giving our patients the health care that they want and deserve. We have time for more meaningful patient interactions."
“The biggest difference between a pharmacy that’s gained control of their workflow versus a pharmacy who hasn’t, is the work environment,” Humphreys said. “With these processes and systems running efficiently, there is a calm that permeates the whole pharmacy. The chaos is gone. Our culture and team morale improved.”
After participating in Cohort 2 of the Flip the Pharmacy program, Tyson Drugs continued in the initiative. As part of Flip the Pharmacy, pharmacies work to transform their community-based pharmacy practice beyond moment-in-time, prescription-level models toward longitudinal, patient-level care processes and value-based models. Flip the Pharmacy resources are publicly available and free for all community pharmacies to access.
Pharmacies looking to grow their medication synchronization program, elevate their pharmacy services support staff and gain practice transformation best practices can participate in weekly Flip the Pharmacy® Workflow Wednesdays webinars. Of which, the Max My Sync webinar, co-hosted by Anderson and Humphreys, is live every Wednesday at 3 PM eastern. “The goal of Max My Sync is to share tips and best practices for pharmacies to grow and maintain a sync program,” said Humphreys.
“This is a great way to get plugged into tangible resources,” Anderson added. “Pharmacies and staff can access previously recorded webinars and join our Max My Sync social learning community to get connected with Max My Sync peers.”
The success that Tyson Drug Company has experienced in their transformation efforts serves as a model for other community pharmacies looking to improve their practice and patient outcomes. Through participation in CPESN Mississippi and initiatives such as Flip the Pharmacy and sharing best practices through Max My Sync webinars, Tyson Drugs is committed to helping other pharmacies achieve similar success.
Parata is a national sponsor of the Flip the Pharmacy program. Additional funding for Flip the Pharmacy is made by the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with national and local team sponsors.
The Flip the Pharmacy program has over 1400 community pharmacies actively engaged in practice transformation, which are supported by over 541 pharmacy coaches from 74 local Flip the Pharmacy teams. To learn more, please visit www.flipthepharmacy.com and access the publicly available resources.