ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday launched Simplify My Meds, an innovative adherence program that provides pharmacists with the tools to help coordinate patients’ prescription refills to a single day of the month, for its independent community pharmacy members.
The new model facilitates a more comprehensive and coordinated level of pharmacy care, reduces the potential for gaps in therapy and promotes improved medication adherence, the NCPA stated.
"Instead of wringing our hands about disappointing patient medication adherence rates that continue to hover around 50%, NCPA is proactively addressing this challenge by using what has worked and making it scalable for all community pharmacies,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA EVP and CEO.
Research has confirmed the role that community pharmacists play in providing patients with the assistance necessary to maintain high levels of medication adherence. In particular, refill coordination at a single pharmacy is recognized as an effective tactic to improve adherence, the NCPA noted.
The key difference between Simplify My Meds and other auto-refill programs is the high-touch, personalized patient consultations each month. This “mini medication reconciliation” process is a cornerstone of the program and allows the pharmacist to identify any recent hospitalizations, especially those that may have resulted in changes in therapy, such as new medications or dosage adjustments.
Independent community pharmacies that have previously employed this practice also have seen tangible, positive results for their business, the NCPA added. By coordinating exactly what day patient refills occur, the independent pharmacy staff’s workload is streamlined, making daily workloads more predictable and reducing labor costs. Data analyzed from pharmacies using this model has shown as much as a 30% increase in prescription volume, a 50% decrease in labor costs and $1.87 per script increase in gross margin.
“The healthcare paradigm is shifting to more patient-centered, comprehensive and efficient services," Hoey said. "With the movement toward the accountable care organizations concept and patient-centered medical homes, and especially during transitions of care, appropriate medication management is central to successful outcomes," he added. "Engaging in adherence practices is an important way for community pharmacies to enhance their business, improve patient care and demonstrate to decision-makers — in both the public and private sector — that we can help achieve better care, better outcomes [and] lower costs, at a better value to the healthcare system.”
Participating pharmacies will receive a detailed operations manual, access to training and help desk support, as well as a marketing kit to help make patients and health plan sponsors aware of the program’s value and convenience.