PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Patients enrolled in Thrifty White Pharmacy’s Medication Synchronization (Med Sync) program spend more days on their drug therapy than other patients do, a new analysis shows. That in turn improves their health outcomes and reduces overall health care costs.
Thrifty White launched Med Sync company-wide in 2011, and a year later the program was studied by Virginia Commonwealth University, which found that participants averaged more days of medication therapy than a control group.
Thrifty White recently updated its data, partnering with the pharmacy solutions company Ateb to analyze claims data.
“This most recent analysis realized an increased incremental days on therapy, showing 3.5 additional refills over the control group,” the report points out, adding that Med Sync patients average more than 11 fills per 12 months, versus the national average of four to five fills.
The new study also included a comprehensive overview of health plans, employer groups and disease states.
A look at data from August 14, 2012, though August 13, 2013, found different medication adherence rates by disease state. But Med Sync participants consistently showed better adherence than patients in the control group. For example, Med Sync diabetes patients had an average of 345 days of therapy versus 253.9 days for the control group.
“The program has really proved itself out,” Thrifty White executive vice president of pharmacy Tim Weippert says. “It also has given our patients and pharmacists the opportunity engage with one another on a monthly basis, and it lets us build in a lot of additional clinical services that we can provide those patients, including medication therapy management, comprehensive medication reviews, additional screening and immunizations — things that can help our patients lead healthier lives.”
At the heart of Thrifty White’s Med Sync program is the synchronization of all a patient’s maintenance medications so that they come due on a single day of the month.
By simplifying the refill process in this way, Thrifty White makes it easier for patients to remain adherent with their prescribed medication regimens. As Weippert pointed out, when patients come in to pick up their medications each month, they have face-to-face contact with a pharmacist, which also fosters greater adherence, and allows pharmacists to counsel patients’ on their entire medication regimen, instead of providing separate counseling for each drug.
Thrifty White also makes up to three calls to patients each month to confirm the prescriptions that need to be filled and to find out if there have been any changes. The pharmacy also learns through the calls about any physician visits or hospitalizations the patient may have experienced. In addition, the patient receives a reminder phone call when medications are ready for pickup.
The calls are made from the chain’s Centralized Patient Care Center, which is staffed by highly trained pharmacy technicians and pharmacists.
Weippert says Thrifty White believes its program is “changing pharmacy and the practice of the profession,” and adds that the chain has measured customer satisfaction as well as improved adherence.
A patient satisfaction survey, conducted in July and August, gave the program high marks. Asked whether they liked the Med Sync model, 85% said they preferred it to the traditional way of getting their prescriptions filled. Also, 95% of patients said they liked having the pharmacist keep track of when to fill their prescriptions, and the same percentage said they thought it was more convenient having their prescriptions filled through Med Sync.
The survey, conducted when patients came in for their pharmacy visits, also found that 62% said they were more likely to take their medications because of Med Sync, and 69% said they were more likely to take them because of their discussions with Thrifty White’s staff. And 89% said they would recommend Med Sync to friends and family members who are taking multiple prescriptions.