Walgreens interventions pay off on compliance

US $100 bills

A study has shown that intervention by Walgreens pharmacy patients in the US results in better medicines compliance.

The patients were offered a multi-faceted medication adherence program when they were initiating therapy within 16 drug classes used to treat common chronic conditions, over a six-month period in 2013.

The Walgreens patients were then compared with similar patients using other pharmacies. The research examined the data from 72,410 patients in each group.

“This data quantifies the role our community pharmacy platform plays in achieving better population health outcomes,” says study author Michael Taitel, PhD, Walgreens senior director of health analytics, research and reporting.

“These findings clearly illustrate that the combination of pharmacist counselling, medication therapy management, refill reminders and telephonic and digital pharmacy interventions, tailored to patients’ needs, drive better adherence.

“Further, this improvement in adherence results in fewer hospitalisations and emergency room visits, ultimately benefitting payers by lowering the overall cost of care.”

The interventions included pharmacy-based patient counselling, medication therapy management and online and digital fill reminders.

For new-to-therapy patients, these programs included pharmacist calls and consultations; and for those continuing therapy, included MTM consultations, automated reminders, pickup reminders, late-to-fill reminders and face-to-face consultations.

Additional findings from the study included:

  • Walgreens community pharmacy patients had 1.8% fewer hospital admissions and 2.7% fewer emergency room visits.
  • On a per patient basis, those in the Walgreens intervention group incurred lower total healthcare costs, including pharmacy (-$92), outpatient (-$120), ER expenditures (-$38), and total health care costs (-$226) over a 6-month period.
  • Overall, Walgreens new-to-therapy patients had 3% lower total healthcare costs then comparable non-Walgreens patients.

Only about 50% of patients with chronic conditions take their medications as prescribed by their doctors, costing the US health care system up to $289 billion each year.

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