Serving as trusted and accessible resources, community pharmacists have a unique opportunity to help patients adhere to their medication regimens and improve outcomes. Ninety-five percent of all Americans live within five miles of their community pharmacy, and in a 2011 Gallup poll, pharmacists were ranked second only to nurses on their list of the most honest and ethical professionals.
New technologies and automated systems, such as pharmacy processing software and robotic dispensers, reduce the time to fill and verify prescriptions. As a result, pharmacists have more time to engage with patients and take on clinical tasks, such as patient coaching and medication education. Targeted behavioral-based patient conversations delivered in the pharmacy can help patients better understand their disease or illness, the role and function of their medication, and the importance of adherence.
Building on the benefits of this patient-centric approach, there are a growing number of opportunities for pharmacies to participate in programs targeted at improving medication adherence, including pharmacist counseling sessions, adherence outreach and medication reminder programs. Integrating with pharmacy software to alert pharmacists to sponsored clinical opportunities, these programs provide training and many include compensation for offering behavioral coaching sessions to help patients overcome adherence barriers, enrolling patients in savings programs, and providing information about clinical trials to eligible patients.
McKesson’s Pharmacy Intervention Program found patients who received face-to-face behavioral coaching from their pharmacists showed significant adherence benefits. For example, COPD patients who received coaching showed an average of 1.6 incremental fills over 12 months, and patients coached in multiple diabetes programs showed an average of four incremental refills over 12 months when compared to patients who did not receive behavioral coaching.
With specialized education and training in patient health, and the fact that they are one of the most trusted professionals, pharmacists are ideally placed to help improve patient outcomes. Combined with technology advances, this trend is likely to grow.
For more information on trends the adherence experts at McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions see shaping the future of medication nonadherence, view “The Future of Medication Adherence” whitepaper here.