Study: Thrifty White's Medication Synchronization Program improves Rx adherence

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Regional player Thrifty White Pharmacy, which operates 90 pharmacies in the upper Midwest, is working to enroll patients in its Medication Synchronization Program as a recent study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University found that those patients taking their medications correctly with the program are more likely to stay well, make fewer clinic visits and require fewer hospitalizations, thus reducing overall healthcare spending.

“The number one problem of treating illness today is a patient’s failure to take prescription medications correctly, regardless of patient age.” stated Dave Rueter, EVP of human resources. “By synchronizing all your prescriptions patients are more adherent and compliant leading to healthier outcomes and healthier patients.”

Through the program, the pharmacy team works with the patient to synchronize all their maintenance medications so that all their prescriptions can be picked up at the pharmacy one time a month verses making multiple trips to the pharmacy. Ten days prior to their prescriptions being filled, the customer receives a call from the pharmacy to confirm the prescriptions to be filled and review any possible medication changes. On the prescription pickup day (appointment day) the pharmacist will review the prescription regimen, monitor changes from any doctor or hospital visits and check for any possible drug interactions.

For the study, data was collected over a 12-month period between 2011 and 2012. There were two arms of the study (Medication Synchronization and control group). Study patients were selected having at least two fills for one of six chronic medication classes.

The analysis indicated significant improvements in adherence and persistence for the Medication Synchronization patients when compared with the control patients for all the chronic medication classes. Depending on the drug class, patients enrolled in the program had 3.4 to 6.1 times greater odds of adherence as controls during the evaluation period, the study found.

Studies from The New England Health Institute estimate that non-adherence, along with improper medication management, results in $290 billion a year in avoidable medical spending on the healthcare system. Poor adherence often leads to preventable worsening of disease, posing serious and unnecessary health risks, particularly for patients with chronic diseases. An estimated one-third to one-half of all patients in the United States do not take their medications as prescribed by their doctors.

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