Prevalence, Effectiveness, and Characteristics of Pharmacy-Based Medication Synchronization Programs


Krumme AA, Isaman DL, Stolpe SF, Dougherty S, Choudhry NK. Prevalence, Effectiveness, and Characteristics of Pharmacy-Based Medication Synchronization Programs. American Journal of Managed Care 2016;22:179-186.


OBJECTIVES: The burden of visiting pharmacies to fill medications is a central contributor to nonadherence to maintenance medications.Recently, pharmacies have begun offering services that align prescription fill dates to allow patients to pick up all medications on a single visit. We evaluated the prevalence and structure of synchronization programs and evidence of their impact on adherence and clinical outcomes.STUDY DESIGN: Mixed-methods approach consisting of semistructured interviews, data from surveillance activities, and a systematic literature review. METHODS: We conducted interviews with opinion leaders from nonprofit advocacy organizations and exemplary synchronization programs. Program prevalence was determined using data from regular surveillance efforts. A literature review included Medline,EMBASE, Google Scholar, and general Internet searches.RESULTS: Synchronization programs exist in approximately 10%of independent, 6% of stand-alone chain, and 11% of retail store pharmacies. The majority of programs include a monthly pharmacist appointment and reminder communication. Programs reported the importance of pharmacist buy-in, technology to track and recruit patients, links to other healthcare services, and flexible solutions for managing costs and communication preferences.Although existing peer-reviewed literature suggests that synchronization improves adherence, more evidence is needed to evaluate its impact on patient-centered outcomes.CONCLUSIONS: As medication synchronization programs shift directions and compete for patients and payer resources, it will be more important than ever to rigorously evaluate their ability to improve clinical outcomes while also providing the growing number of patients managing multiple chronic conditions with the highest level of patient engagement and consumer choice.

Last updated on 03/28/2016