A recent survey of National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) member pharmacies utilizing NCPA's Simplify My Meds® (SMM) program documented how both patients and pharmacists benefit from medication synchronization programs, or "med sync." The survey asked several open-ended questions, and respondents overwhelmingly noted that med sync has increased efficiency in their pharmacy and balanced their work flow. Respondents also indicated patients are satisfied because the program means fewer visits to the pharmacy each month, an opportunity to discuss their medications with their pharmacist, and more certainty in their refill process.
"Med sync programs, such as Simplify My Meds, are critical to achieving greater patient adherence," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Non-adherence to medication is estimated to cost the health care system as much as $290 billion annually through necessitating costly procedures or hospitalizations that could otherwise have been prevented. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established star ratings measures for Medicare prescription drug plans that are largely dependent on patient adherence."
Hoey continued, "Med sync is yet another individualized service independent pharmacies can offer patients to set them apart from their competitors and simultaneously boost adherence ratings. Furthermore, a 2013 study called 'Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card' found that the leading indicator of patient adherence was their personal relationship with their pharmacist. Med sync programs provide monthly opportunities to grow these critical relationships."
NCPA's Simplify My Meds program is utilized by more than 2,600 independent community pharmacies nationwide, either as a standalone platform or in tandem with other technologies. In fact, the survey documented how some community pharmacies utilize a technology vendor service to facilitate their med sync program while relying on SMM for marketing and promoting the med sync service. Overall, more than 10,000 community pharmacies nationwide provide med sync services.
Examples of some of the comments regarding the benefits of medication synchronization include:
Benefits to Patient
- "We have patients that want to join SMM because they live 15 miles or so away and they don't want to come into the pharmacy several times a month. It benefits us as well as the patient."
- "I had a patient that was on 17 medications & her insurance recently changed. I was able to talk with her about this during the follow up call so that we could fix the issue before she came into the store. It saved us and her time from having to rerun all the prescriptions through her insurance when she came in."
- "We have a few families that have several family members on medications which caused them to be in the pharmacy at least once a week. Thanks to med sync a busy mom/dad only has to come in once a month for the entire family. Every month they thank us for taking the burden of calling in the meds every month and worrying about running out of refills. They wait for our call every month and feel reassured that all they have to do is show up on their due date and everything will be ready."
- "A patient's overwhelmed daughter asked us to sync her dad's medications in order to help simplify her life. We were able to sync 90-day supplies in all of his medications and she was extremely thankful that we took the time to make her life easier."
Benefits to Pharmacy
- "It has helped us reduce physical inventory. We don't have to keep expensive and uncommon meds in stock. I can order the med a few days ahead of time if the patient needs it. Our staff doesn't have to rush and fill the prescriptions since we fill the batches a few days ahead of the due date. Patients don't have to worry about meds being out of refills and only have to come in once a month."
- "We know what days of the month our patients need their meds, which make the workflow much easier."
- "It has enhanced our workflow for larger order patients in particular. We now know they have specific medications due at certain times and allows us to ensure all fills completed in timely fashion before the patient picks up the medications."
National Community Pharmacists Association