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Study: Appointment-based med sync gets results

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NCPA says service reflects shift toward value-based care

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pharmacies offering appointment-based medication synchronization (ABMS) can improve patients’ adherence to their prescriptions and, in turn, produce better health outcomes, a study conducted for the National Community Pharmacists Association and Arkansas Pharmacists Association finds.

NCPA said Monday that the one-year study, done by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pharmacy Practice, gauged the impact of ABMS services provided by a “virtual network” of 82 community pharmacies across Arkansas.

Operating on 13 different pharmacy management systems, the pharmacies offered standardized ABMS services using technology from PrescribeWellness. More than 8,000 patients were enrolled.

pharmacy customer_health martPatients who received ABMS services were more than 2.5 times more likely to stick with their medication as prescribed by their doctor, according to the study, also supported by Pfizer Inc. By contrast, patients who did not receive ABMS services were 21% more likely to discontinue their prescription drug regimen.

“This study demonstrates that high-touch, community pharmacy-based ABMS can significantly improve patient adherence and persistence. Medication adherence has been shown to improve health outcomes and decreases total health care costs,” the study said. “In addition, community pharmacists have been very successful at tailoring the core components of ABMS into many different operational models. Despite these differences in approach, each pharmacist-driven model works and produces consistently positive results.”

ABMS provides more efficiency for pharmacies and more convenience for patients by consolidating all prescription refills into one monthly pickup, the study noted. Besides simplifying the pharmacist’s workflow and freeing up more time for patient consultations, the service creates scheduled interactions between the patient and the pharmacist, providing an opportunity for medication regimen reviews and discussion of potential barriers to adherence. Many NCPA members offer ABMS services through the association’s Simplify My Meds program.

“As our country moves to a value-based model that rewards better outcomes, it’s critical for community pharmacists to demonstrate and measure how they can drive medication adherence and improved health,” NCPA chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey said in a statement. “That’s why this new study is so different and so critical. It shows that a diverse group of independent community pharmacies can unite to provide consistently high-quality adherence services and positively affect patient health outcomes — and measure that impact. Community pharmacists will continue to work to replicate these successful results on a national scale.”

NCPA pointed out that health care payers, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), are shifting toward a reimbursement model to reward the quality of patient care achieved instead of paying for only the volume of services provided. For example, CMS has announced that by 2018 half of all traditional Medicare payments — made as fees for service — will be tied to quality or value through alternative delivery methods such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), in which some community pharmacists participate.

“I commend the Arkansas community pharmacies and pharmacists who participated in this study. Working together they produced convincing evidence of how community pharmacists can help achieve improved medication management, which leads to improved patient outcomes,” stated Mark Riley, executive vice president and CEO of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association. “They are leading the way toward the future of U.S. pharmacy care in a value-based health care system.”

In late September, cloud-based service provider PrescribeWellness launched StarWellness+, an add-on service to its StarWellness med sync software. The company said that via its strategic partnership with TeleManager Technologies, StarWellness+ enables pharmacists to push synchronized medications into the workflow queue of virtually any pharmacy management system.

“As our industry moves toward the appointment-based model, we are ideally positioned to help our clients manage their patient appointments using our platform,” Al Babbington, president and CEO of PrescribeWellness, said when StarWellness+ was announced. “Whether a pharmacy uses our electronic calendar or selects StarWellness+ to push meds into their queue, our flexible solution will help them expand their med sync offering and improve adherence with hundreds of their patients.”

The partnership between PrescribeWellness and TeleManager Technologies was announced earlier this year.

“StarWellness+ from PrescribeWellness is a big part of our success in syncing so many patients,” commented Beth Husted, general manager of central services for Ritzman Pharmacy. “Their intuitive software really makes it easy to manage hundreds of med sync patients from each of our locations.”


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