Patients’ adherence to their medication is more important than ever before, as it significantly affects their health and safety—and now it affects your pharmacy’s Star Ratings, too.
Fortunately, there are technology tools that your pharmacy can use to help patients take their medication properly, confidently, and consistently, with little to no added effort on your end. And, when patients adhere to their medication regimen, they’ll be more likely to have positive outcomes, and choose your pharmacy again and again.
Use these innovative tech tools to improve patients’ adherence, and boost your pharmacy’s Star Ratings.
1. Smartphone health apps
For many patients who always carry their smartphone with them, a medication reminder app can be the best way to boost adherence. Many of these apps are free, and include additional features that allow your pharmacy to help non-compliant patients get back on track.
For example, Medisafe is an app for Android and iPhone that helps patients manage their medication therapy to promote adherence. It alerts patients when it’s time to take each of their medications, and monitors adherence behavior. It also includes features to alert caregivers or loved ones whether or not a patient took his medication.
Medisafe also has features that remind patients they’re reaching their last dose, so they can come to your pharmacy for a refill. You can also cross-promote relevant products and services to specific patients through the app. And, perhaps most important to improving adherence—and what makes this app stand out from its competitors—is that you can track patients’ adherence patterns and prescription fills, so you can identify at-risk patients and intervene.
Consider familiarizing yourself with a few other apps that remind patients when and how to take their medication, as efficacy of apps will vary by personal preference. Your patients will be more likely to be adherent if they enjoy, and understand how to use the app.
2. Text-to-speech devices
More than 7 million adults in the U.S. are blind or visually impaired, according to the National Federation of the Blind. That number is expected to double by the year 2020, and more than triple by 2050, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.
Low vision and blindness affect an individual’s ability to read prescription labels, distinguish between multiple prescriptions and review written medicine-taking instructions.
This decreases independence in patients who must rely on others to take their medication, and can lead to taking medication improperly or not at all.
Fortunately, there are tools your pharmacy can use to increase confidence and consistency in medicine therapy to mitigate this group’s risk for medication non-adherence.
Digit-Eyes is an iPhone app that reads Quick Response (QR) codes, which are codes made of black and white squares used to store URLs or other information read by the cameras on smartphones.
The app allows users to generate their own QR codes that link to voice recordings they can create themselves. For prescription use, patients can record, “Zestril, 10 mg. Take once-a-day with supper.” Then, they can print a unique QR code on a sticker label to attach to their prescription bottle.
Each time patients scan the QR code with their iPhone, the app will play the prerecorded voice message back to them. This gives patients confidence that they’re taking each of their medications at the right time and in the right way. It also helps them avoid confusing their prescription bottles with prescriptions of others in the same household.
This app has additional features for users, such as reading Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and International Article Number (EAN) codes, so they can identify front-end products independently, too.
ScripTalk Station is a talking prescription label-reading device that allows patients to hear their various prescription names, dosage, instructions, warnings, pharmacy and physician information and more. The device is a battery-powered base that reads prescription information when a bottle is held to its surface.
A small sticker is placed on each bottle that contains a flat, tiny antenna and microchip embedded in the label. Using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the base can recognize and read each prescription.
A pharmacist would simply program each chip label with the proper information from the pharmacy information software, (which takes just seconds) and then place the sticker on the bottle.
ScripTalk Station is part of ScripAbility by En-Vision America that also includes large print labels in booklet form with QR codes that link to audible instructions via smartphone, and clear braille prescription labels, which are placed on top of printed labels to allow pharmacists and others to read the printed prescription information.
The optaPHONIC Digital Audio Label by AccessaMed attaches directly to each prescription bottle, blister pack or tube, to ensure that patients are taking their medication properly. When the device’s only button is pressed, it reads prescription information that a pharmacist pre-records for patients using the optaPHONIC software.
The digital audio label can minimize risk for patients by eliminating confusion that could lead to improper use, or skipped use of a patients’ medication therapy.
3. Smart blister packs
Smart blister packs, such as the The Med-ic® Electronic Compliance Monitor (ECM©), monitor patients’ adherence by tracking when they open each dose with a single chip RFID tag.
Records of when each dose is opened can be downloaded to a computer with a CertiScan® Reader and Software, or simply sent to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth or near field communication (NFC). Adherence data can also be exported into an Excel document or PDF.
Smart blister packs can help pharmacists closely monitor patients whose medication compliance is critical, and patients who struggle to remember to take their medication.
Additionally, the smart blister pack can detect temperature for sensitive medications, tampering, drug fraud and logistics tracking.
Use these high-tech tools to increase patient adherence and boost Star Ratings.