Medication adherence is a top priority for every independent pharmacy. Adherence is achieved when patients take their prescription medications exactly as prescribed, leading to more effective treatment plans and better health outcomes.

Adherence isn’t easy, though. Only about 50% of patients adhere to their medications, which opens up the door to a wide range of health problems.

The CDC estimates that non-adherence causes 30 to 50% of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year in the U.S. With patients’ lives on the line, pharmacists must take steps to improve adherence.

In this effort, pharmacy software is among your biggest assets — and a few pharmacy software features in particular can get your adherence rates up.

Here are five pharmacy software features that can help your pharmacy, and your patients, achieve your adherence goals.

1. Adherence Packaging Integrations

Good medication adherence starts with good packaging.

Packaging solutions like vials, pill bottles, blister packs, and multi-dose packages can all make or break patient adherence. The packaging should be easy to use, understand, and follow. 

Many vendors offer adherence-friendly packaging solutions that you can take advantage of via your pharmacy software system. Many software systems integrate directly with packaging vendors to provide you with an all-in-one packaging solution.

Some of the top packaging vendors include:

  • Medicine-On-Time: Medicine-On-Time offers adherence packaging and clinical solutions for all types of pharmacies, including MOT Complete packages, customizable CARE packages, multi-dose packaging solutions, and more. Medicine-on-Time integrates with many top pharmacy software systems, including PioneerRx, QS/1, Liberty Software, Rx30, and ComputerRx.

  • RxSafe: RxSafe is a comprehensive packaging provider that offers pouch packaging, blister card packaging, vial filling, and pill counting systems (Eyecon 9420 and RapidCountRx). RxSafe also integrates with several pharmacy software systems.

  • Parata: Parata currently has more than 4,500 pharmacy automation solutions installed in pharmacies of varying settings all across the United States. Solutions include blister cards, PASS and ATP pouches, and pouch inspectors.

2. Medication Synchronization Calendar

Many pharmacies improve adherence by way of medication synchronization programs. 

Medication synchronization, or med sync for short, gives patients the option to pick up all of their routine medications at the same time instead off taking individual trips to the pharmacy.

On the pharmacy’s end, med sync enables greater efficiency and fewer bottlenecks in workflow. 

Some pharmacy software systems offer med sync features, which can categorize and keep track of all of a patient’s medications in the system. Within the software, one feature that is particularly helpful is a med sync calendar.

With this feature, the software displays the number of regular fills, retail sync fills, and facility cycle prescriptions (if applicable) that need to be filled each day that month.

By clicking on a day within the calendar, pharmacists can view which patients require fills, which prescriptions are ready to be picked up, and which outstanding prescriptions require processing.

Med sync calendars help your pharmacy fill all med sync scripts in a timely manner, giving you more time for patient interactions and important conversations about medication adherence.

3. Integrated Automatic Refills

Another helpful feature for filling scripts is integrated automatic refills.

This feature allows pharmacists to automate and customize the refill process based on patient needs. This ensures that patients get their medications when they need them and that they stick to those medications.

Within the software, automatic refill features work by scheduling refills for you, based on a predetermined refill frequency. However, you can adjust scheduled dates based on either the estimated refill due date or the percentage of medication used.

In doing so, you can make sure that you have all medications in stock before patient pickup and that your workflow runs smoothly along the way.

From a patient’s perspective, automatic refills ensure that they can get the same meds at the same time every month. This is crucial for medication adherence and positive patient outcomes.

4. Patient Pickup Reminders

When scripts are refilled, your software should enable you to notify patients. Within patient profiles, you should be able to update patients’ contact information, including email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

From there, you can create, schedule, and send patient notifications that alert patients when their scripts are ready for pickup.

Some software systems automate this process for you, meaning that any time a script is documented as filled, the software will send an “Rx Ready” notification to patients to their preferred point of contact.

Not only does this ensure that patients know when to pick up their scripts, but it also eliminates the burden on you and your team of manually calling, texting, or otherwise reaching out to patients.

5. PDC Scores

While you hope that all patients remain adherent, a fifth and final software feature can help if you find that they aren’t.

PDC (Proportion of Days Covered) scores are used to calculate how adherent patients are to medications. PDC is calculated based on the number of days supply a drug is dispensed for, divided by the number of days the prescription is in the patient's possession.

For example, a 30-day supply of a drug refilled after 35 days (30÷35) yields a PDC Score of 85%. A higher PDC score suggests higher adherence, while a lower PDC score suggests non-adherence.

Many pharmacists use PDC to determine adherence, but with some pharmacy software systems, PDC scores are calculated for you in the software. This helps you identify patients at risk of non-adherence and intervene accordingly.

In some software systems, you can even have alerts sent to you when a patient’s PDC score drops below the score you set. With this information, you can reach out to patients and discuss adjusting treatment plans.


Medication adherence is critical for every pharmacy. A higher adherence rate means healthier, happier patients; but adherence can be hard to manage.

Your pharmacy software system should provide you with a wide range of features to monitor, manage, and intervene in adherence-related issues.

Reach out to your pharmacy software provider to find out what kinds of adherence features they offer, and if you find that they’re falling short, you may want to consider switching to a new software system.

Learn more about the top pharmacy software systems on our Compare Software page and find the right system to keep your adherence rates up and your patients healthy.