From pharmacies and physician practices to large-scale health systems, every touchpoint within the healthcare system has the potential to affect medication adherence. No matter which part of the industry you’re in, higher adherence rates benefit your bottom line and improve health outcomes for patients, too. Let’s review three ways different groups can play their part in boosting medication adherence across the healthcare system.

1. Switch to compliance packaging

For health systems, switching to compliance packaging—also called adherence packing—can make it easier for patients to take their drugs as prescribed. Melanie Christie discusses this in “How Compliance Packaging Can Improve Outcomes for Your Health System.” Christie is the vice president of product management and engineering for McKesson High Volume Solutions. She explains that compliance packaging lets you put all the drugs a patient takes in one package. These could be blister packs or pouches. The drugs are organized by dose and the time of day and week the patient takes them. Compliance packaging can boost adherence in a number of ways:

  • Offers convenience. Compliance packaging makes it easier for patients to take all of their medications at the correct time.
  • Avoids delays. With compliance packaging, a patient can get all of their medications at once before leaving your outpatient pharmacy.
  • Creates a seamless continuum of care. Communication between prescribers and pharmacists about a patient’s medications is improved, helping both parties eliminate any potential barriers to adherence they may see.

Switching to compliance packaging allows you to offer patients a better experience overall. It becomes easier for them to stay on top of their drug regimen and for you and the patient’s prescribers to get a comprehensive picture of their health.

2. Employ the full functionality of your PMS

The right technology is only useful if you’re tapping into its full potential. Chain pharmacies should maximize the full functionality of their pharmacy management system (PMS) to improve adherence. Steve Petrozzi expands on this in “Making Technology Work Harder for Your Chain Pharmacy.” Petrozzi is the senior director of account management for McKesson Pharmacy Systems. He notes that there are certain functions within your PMS that can help you boost adherence.

For example, your PMS can:

  • Alert you to patients who aren’t taking their drugs. It can then give you questions to ask to find out why the patient isn’t adherent.
  • Automate time-intensive, manual tasks like filling prescriptions. Use your PMS to fill prescriptions automatically. This frees up your staff to spend more time with patients. During this time, you can address any patient questions and counsel them on proper use of the medication. This can remove potential barriers to adherence.
  • Integrate tasks like claim adjudication into the workflow of filling a prescription. This speeds up the process of a patient receiving their medication. In turn, this can prevent prescription abandonment.

It’s up to you to make sure your pharmacy is taking full advantage of the capabilities within your PMS. If you’re not using your PMS to its full potential, you’re missing out on the chance to address more barriers to adherence in real time.

3. Adopt price transparency tools

Most patients are unaware of what a drug will cost when they go to pick it up at their pharmacy. And sticker shock can be a major barrier for patients when it comes to adherence. Luckily, your physician practice can step in and help remove that barrier by being transparent about what a medication will cost when you prescribe it.

Stacy Hopkins discusses this in “Why Patients at Your Physician Practice Benefit from Price Transparency.” Hopkins is the senior product manager for RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions. She notes that to use transparency at the point of prescribing, you’ll need to access your patient’s drug benefits while they’re in your office.

You can achieve this by integrating transparency tools directly into your electronic health records (EHR). When you do this, you do several things for your patients that can boost adherence:

  • Reduce red tape. You’re helping patients quickly navigate obstacles like formulary changes or prior authorizations that could delay their treatment.
  • Help patients find alternatives. Patients can speak up while they’re still in your office if they hear that a prescription will be too costly. That way, you can work with them to identify more cost-effective alternatives for their condition, if available.
  • Save patients time. When you help patients resolve these complex issues before they get to the pharmacy, rather than the pharmacist having to try and get approval while the patient is at the counter, you save them time. They’re more likely to fill their prescription and start taking it right away, which helps their adherence and their overall health outcomes.

Taking the time to go over prescription costs with your patients gives you the unique chance to eliminate red tape, find potential alternatives and make the experience more seamless—all of which can help improve adherence rates.

No matter which part of the healthcare industry you’re in, you have a chance to affect medication adherence. When you can remove barriers to adherence, maximize technology and invest more time in one-on-one patient interactions, you can help move the needle on medication adherence.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s patient medication adherence programs

Unable to cast object of type 'System.DBNull' to type 'System.String'.   at McKesson.ImageHelper.getImageDesc(String URL)

About the author

McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

Be the first to Comment

Start the Conversation

Post a comment:

Please enter a name.

Please enter your comment.

Post Approval in Progress:

System failed to receive comment.

We reserve the right to remove any comments from the site that we feel put the safety or utility of our community at risk. View the . To find out more about our privacy practices, please see the .