When pharmacists dispense prescriptions, they expect that patients will take them in the right dosage, at the right time. Sometimes, though, this expectation is not met — as patients forget, neglect, or altogether abandon their medications. Whether it be due to busy schedules or barriers to access, improper use of medication can create complications for both patients and pharmacists, leading to issues like bad health, poor outcomes, and loss of time and resources.
Given these consequences, medication non-adherence is one of the biggest challenges that the healthcare system faces. Luckily, pharmacists can make a difference with the help of medication synchronization — or med sync — programs. By using med sync and choosing a supporting software in your pharmacy, you can increase medication adherence in your community, improve your patients’ lives, and even improve your own quality of life through efficiency and organization.
The Issue of Adherence
In the United States, 66% of adults take prescription medications. From treating a simple cold to fighting an infection to managing a chronic illness, prescription medications can improve both short- and long-term conditions. While some patients only require one medication for treatment, though, many others require multiple medications, which they take on an ongoing basis. In fact, 21% of Americans take 3 or more prescription medications, and 10% take 5 or more prescriptions.
When managing multiple medications, it can be difficult for patients to remember to take their prescriptions on time and to get them refilled when needed. These difficulties are reflected in the fact that only 50% of patients adhere to their medications — leaving the other half to go without the treatment they need.
The consequences are serious. Medication non-adherence accounts for 33-69% of medication-related hospital admissions in the United States every year, as well as an estimated 125,000 deaths. In addition, poor medication adherence costs the US healthcare system over $290 billion every year — accounting for 13% of all expenditures. These statistics show that non-adherence is an ongoing problem that affects patients, pharmacists, and the healthcare system altogether. Because of its prevalence and its persistence, it demands solutions.
How Med Sync Can Help
As a pharmacist, you are on the frontline in the fight against medication non-adherence. Your best weapon? Medication synchronization. Put simply, med sync is a program that allows patients who take multiple medications to pick up all of their monthly prescriptions at the same time. By implementing a medication synchronization program at your pharmacy, you can see benefits for both your patients and your team.
Benefits of Med Sync for Patients
- Saves time and money — Med sync saves patients time in several ways: it eliminates extra trips to the pharmacy, reduces potential time in line, and allows for prescriptions to be filled in a fast and efficient way. In addition, it saves patients money by cutting down on transportation costs or unused drug costs.
- Increases clarity — Because med sync enables patients to pick up all of their prescriptions on one convenient day and time, it eliminates the confusion of figuring out when each medication needs to be filled. A better understanding leads to better adherence, improving patient outcomes.
- Simplifies intake — Many med sync programs use compliance packaging — multi-medication packages that are filled and labeled with each of a patient’s prescriptions. Compliance packaging helps patients determine what to take and when to take it, increasing the probability that they will do so on time.
- Expands knowledge — Before they get their prescriptions filled, med sync patients meet with you, the pharmacist, to discuss their progress and determine their next steps. These monthly appointments allow patients to learn about their medications, ask questions, express concerns, and feel more in control of their treatment plan.
- Reduces risk — Because med sync requires patients to work closely with a pharmacist, it gives you better oversight of their treatment. In the process, it prevents issues like contraindications, duplicate drug therapy, and dispensing errors that could negatively affect their health.
- Improves treatment — By helping patients stay on a consistent treatment schedule, med sync reduces the risk of delayed or missed refills. As a result, it helps to mitigate complications and improve the effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Benefits of Med Sync for Pharmacists
- Increases efficiency — Because med sync allows you to dispense a patient’s monthly prescriptions all at once, it speeds up your workflow and increases your productivity. By extension, it allows you to serve more patients in less time.
- Strengthens patient relationships — Monthly pick-up appointments with patients give you an opportunity to strengthen your patient-provider relationship. By getting to know your patients and providing them with quality care, you can build rapport with them. Doing so will allow you to have more open, honest communication and lead to better outcomes.
- Creates healthier communities — Above all else, your goal as a pharmacist is to improve the health and well-being of your patients and your community. Med sync allows you to target and treat a group of patients with specific needs, and by providing this service, you can enable them to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.
- Leads to higher satisfaction rates — When patients take their medications as directed, they notice improvements in their health. Better health, coupled with the relationship they form with you, the pharmacist, will lead to greater satisfaction. High satisfaction rates demonstrate your success as a pharmacist and can help grow your business via patient recommendations.
- Increases revenue via prescriptions — Med sync ensures that more of your patients will take the prescriptions they need. As they go to refill the scripts, your pharmacy will generate more revenue. This goes to show that sync doesn’t only improve patient care, but it also boosts your finances and grows your business.
- Increases revenue via OTC items — Med sync isn’t limited to synchronizing prescriptions. To further increase revenue, your pharmacy can combine prescriptions with high-margin OTC items (like vitamins and supplements) in your patients’ med sync packages.
Getting Started with Med Sync
Medication synchronization is one of the best ways that you can build a strong foundation for your independent pharmacy. As you consider making the transition and starting your own med sync program, consider the needs of your pharmacy. To begin with, do some research and find out how many of your patients already take multiple medications — typically, older patients and those with chronic diseases are the target demographic.
If you find that there is a market for a med sync program, talk to your pharmacists, technicians, and administrators about the issue to get the team on board. Explain the unique need for the program, as well as the benefits that it can bring. With the approval of your team, begin implementing the program into your pharmacy’s workflow.
The easiest, most efficient way to use med sync is through a pharmacy software system. Rather than manually gathering, entering, and interpreting data for your program, you can rely on your pharmacy software to streamline the process and make med sync simple. For an added boost, look for a system that can integrate with automated robots — helping you complete tasks like dispensing and compliance packaging in a fast and efficient manner. Not sure which pharmacies offer built-in med sync capabilities or how to choose them? Look into our detailed comparison of each pharmacy system to find out which one is right for you.
When it comes to addressing non-adherence, medication synchronization offers a real and viable solution to the problem. By simplifying the prescription process for both patients and pharmacists, med sync cultivates better adherence and better health. In the process, it creates better outcomes for patients and creates new business opportunities for pharmacists.