October 15, 2020
Inside: Help your patients stay adherent and improve your bottom line with compliance packaging.
You can help patients stay adherent, improve their health outcomes, and make your pharmacy more profitable, all by changing the way you package medications at your pharmacy.
Compliance packaging, sometimes known as adherence packaging, is a service independent pharmacies can provide to patients to help them remain adherent to their medications. Instead of coming in a vial, medications will instead be pre-packed into individual blisters or packages and marked with the time of day that the pills should be taken.
Compliance packaging is often used as an extension of medication synchronization, where patients pick up all their medications for the month at once. Instead of getting individual bottles for each of their medications, compliance packaging bundles them all together.
There are several systems that pharmacies can use to put together medications for compliance packaging:
Some pharmacy robotics systems can assist with the creation of compliance packaging, making it a less labor-intensive process for pharmacy staff members.
Compliance packaging is subject to the same labeling requirements as regularly dispensed prescriptions. With multidose packaging, the information presented can get crowded on the label, so many pharmacies use a grid or chart to clearly present the necessary prescription information.
Not all medications are well-suited for compliance packaging, like creams and liquids. Medications that are only supposed to be taken “when needed” should not be included in a compliance package, either.
The most immediate benefit of compliance packaging is that it helps your patients stay adherent to their medications. Since packaging shows them exactly what medications they should be taking and when they should take them, patients aren’t second-guessing whether which pills they need to be taking or trying to remember if they’ve already taken them.
A one-year study by Omnicell found that patients who received their medications in multidose blister packages had reached 90 percent adherence by the end of the trial, while patients who were taking their medications out of pill bottles only had an adherence rate of 56 percent.
Patients who stay adherent because of compliance packaging will have better health outcomes, and higher patient adherence has positive outcomes for the pharmacy’s profits as well.
Patients who stay adherent using compliance packaging will come back for two or three more refills than they would without compliance packaging. With most patients taking multiple medications, that can add up to lots more revenue for a pharmacy. Higher patient adherence can also translate into better reimbursement rates, bringing more profit on a second front.
There’s also a workflow benefit to compliance packaging, as filling these med-synced prescriptions can be easily scheduled in advance rather than waiting on individual calls to refill multiple prescriptions throughout the month.
With the improved adherence that comes along with it, compliance packaging is a good option for any patient who is taking multiple medications. It’s especially good for patients managing multiple chronic conditions that require them to take medications at different times of the day.
Compliance packaging is also ideal for patients who may have one or more caretakers assisting them. It will allow caretakers to see if a pill hasn’t been taken yet or if it was administered by someone else, even if the patient can’t remember or can’t communicate whether they have taken their meds.
For patients who are already on a medication synchronization schedule, compliance packaging can further ensure they are keeping up with their medications. Even if a patient picks up all their medications on the same day every month, when they are all packaged in separate bottles, they still may lose track of when they are supposed to take each drug.
Your patients probably aren’t used to taking their medications out of blister packs and may need some education before they’re fully on board. You’ll need to create a marketing campaign that lets your patients know that you are offering the service, and what the service actually entails.
Here are some ideas to get the word out about your compliance packaging service.
Use a Display Package
If they’ve never used compliance packaging before, patients may not quite understand it if they are just hearing the pharmacist explain. Keep a sample compliance package at your pharmacy counter as a visual aid. Having a tangible object that patients can pick up and examine will help patients learn what they will be getting if they decide to switch to compliance packaging.
If there’s a patient who you know has had success with your compliance packaging service, ask them if they would be willing to provide a testimonial about how it’s improved their life.
Once you’ve collected the testimonials, show them off on all your regular marketing material. Testimonials can be especially convincing because they don’t feel like a hard sell — instead, patients feel like a friend is letting them in on a secret.
Write an FAQ
Assemble a thorough document of frequently asked questions to help educate patients about your service. Once it’s finished, post the FAQ online so patients can find it if they are browsing your website, or send it out in a marketing email.
You can also create a handout version to give to patients who learn about the service while they’re in the store.
Create a Video
Film a bite-sized, easily shareable video can cover what compliance packages are and what they look like. You can even give a little behind the scenes tour that demonstrates how the packages are put together.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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