Implementing Adherence Programs in Community Pharmacy

December 1, 2014

Medication adherence monitoring is quite possibly the easiest clinical intervention to implement in community pharmacy.

Pharmacy Times recently reviewed research published in the November-December 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association describing the factors that make pharmacists more likely to implement a medication adherence program. I decided to blog about this item today because I think it is quite possibly the easiest clinical intervention to implement.

Medication adherence monitoring can be done 1 patient at a time, doesn’t require a lot of front-end investment, and everyone on a store’s staff doesn’t need to get on board before it can be implemented. But, to get started, you have to recognize that pharmacists need to be concerned about more than just getting the right pill in the bottle.

Evidence is accumulating that getting patients on the right drugs and making sure they take them correctly provides economic benefit to the pharmacy, the patient, and the health care system, as well as clinical benefit to the patient. That is why many pharmacy organizations have begun promoting medication adherence programs that are being implemented at the community pharmacy level.

When you check a refill prescription for accuracy, make sure the patient is getting that refill on time. If they are, then make sure you reinforce the benefit of continuing to take the medicine. If it appears that the refill request is late, then use the opportunity to ask the patient about his or her medication-taking habits. As you try to work with the patient to improve drug adherence, you will begin to learn what that patient needs and customize a patient-specific program.

The reason why “early adopters” are more successful in implementing adherence programs than “traditionalists” will make more sense to you after reading the research article, and your pharmacy can put into place the things that influence adherence program adoption. The first step is recognizing that patients both want and need the pharmacist to help them be adherent to their medication regimen.

Even if the patient doesn’t seem to want it, the payer does, so get started on implementing a medication adherence program tomorrow. Do it initially 1 patient at a time so you can work it into your other responsibilities seamlessly.