Heather Martin, VP of sales for long-term care and retail markets at TCGRx, talks about a trend that community pharmacies need to know about: adherence packaging. Learn how you could use adherence packaging to build on the success you’re having with processes such as med sync.
ComputerTalk: Adherence packaging for retail patients looks like a trend. Tell us what’s happening here.
Heather Martin: The trend we’re seeing in adherence packaging is really an element and continuation of a bigger trend, which is that pharmacies are actively engaging in patient medication management services versus traditional dispensing. As reimbursement models have shifted, we’ve seen pharmacies become more targeted in providing MTM [medication therapy management] services to chronic patients by adding medication synchronization services.
Now we are seeing medication adherence packaging naturally evolve as a way to tie all of these efforts together. These solutions provide a very simple and organized manner to support adherence for patients with complex medication regimens, those who are being cared for in a variety of settings, and patients who are trying to remain independent longer.
We’ve seen pharmacies prove that counseling and med sync are critical steps in adherence. Often, patients or family members have a weekly or monthly routine of putting together a pill reminder box on their own. Instead, pharmacies can manage this task as a service so that it’s easier for patients to stay adherent. With adherence packaging, it is easy for a patient or caregiver to see, at a glance, any times of administration that have been taken or missed. At TCGRx, we’re seeing retail pharmacies adopting this as the final adherence step for their patient base.
CT: TCGRx has long experience with adherence packaging from the long-term care market. How are you responding to this trend?
Martin: In first quarter 2018 we will be introducing a new technology called SmartCardRx™. This is a solution for multimed bingo cards. SmartCardRx marries software with hardware to achieve greater accuracy and speed in the filling and the verification process for pharmacies. We believe strongly that every pharmacy can improve its patients’ experience and grow its business with medication adherence solutions. We are excited to offer a safer and faster option, that is also affordable, to those pharmacies interested in starting an adherence packaging program.
CT: So there are different adherence packaging tools for different needs?
Martin: Yes. We appreciate that there will be preferences in packaging from both pharmacies and patients. Our goal is to offer a wide range of solutions to meet the packaging and efficiency needs of every size pharmacy. We offer pouch packaging, which can be unit-dose or multimed and sorted by any logic that the pharmacy or patient requirers. We will also offer unit-dose cards, and multimed cards, with reliable technology solutions to help pharmacies grow their business profitably.
Our latest technology, SmartCardRx, is a software- and hardware-facilitated packaging and verification process for the fulfillment of multimed cards. All of the patient’s medications are comingled in a blister card by administration time. The compartments are clearly labeled for time of day and with medication information. The individual medication blisters are easily separated from the card, making doses portable for the patient on the go. Medication adherence packaging is for any patient who may struggle with taking their meds properly, or who simply wants a more convenient manner of storing and taking their medications.
CT: What are some of the ways that pharmacies can judge the impact of adherence packaging?
Martin: There are many ways to identify success. The primary measure is rapid acceptance of this packaging in the marketplace and a pharmacy’s ability to grow its business. Simply placing packaging on the counter allows patients the choice. Even long-time patients often allow multiple pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. Adherence packaging can result in the consolidation of all of a patient’s prescriptions to one pharmacy provider. In addition to prescription volume increases, the benefit is the pharmacist’s ability to have a more complete profile for providing patient care.
TCGRx encourages pharmacy owners to also talk about the benefits to providers in their community. This allows community pharmacies to position themselves with providers and discharge coordinators as an essential partner in their efforts to lower readmission rates and allow patients to be cared for in their preferred setting. With reimbursement tied to quality measures for all stakeholders, it is easier than ever to start the conversation, and arguably more important than ever. The conversation is about quality patient services offered by your pharmacy, and it comes together with a tangible element when packaging is included. It’s powerful to show the packaging and say, “This is the packaging that our pharmacy is providing patients to help them easily understand their regimen and remain compliant.”
Perhaps the final component is patient satisfaction. Pharmacies offering adherence packaging see and hear how it’s changing the lives of patients and caregivers. Persistence rates increase, medications are easier to manage, and patients are simply healthier and happier. CT