Switching from a "Reactive" to "Proactive" mindset
Pharmacists are consistently recognized as one of the most accessible healthcare providers. They intervene in patient care everyday in order to ensure patient needs are met, whether that is by delivering medications to a patient that cannot make a trip into the pharmacy that day, making an Over-The-Counter (OTC) medication recommendation, administering vaccines in a convenient setting, or anything in between. Pharmacists react to the needs of their patients, and offer care accordingly.
However, when we think about switching from a "reactive" mindset to a "proactive" one, we open up a new level of care we can provide our patients. What if we were prepared with interventions and solutions to potential care gaps for our patients before they even walked through the pharmacy doors? How can we do that?
By Leveraging the Appointment-Based Model through Medication Synchronization.
By enrolling patients in a medication synchronization process, we can assess a patient's entire medication regimen at one time, providing an optimal situation for making potential medication therapy management, often referred to as MTM, interventions. We can utilize support staff, like our fabulous pharmacy technicians, to call patients ahead of time to see when they would like to pick up their medications, if anything has changed with their medication regimen and/or insurance since the last time they visited the pharmacy, and to discuss any Point-of-Care testing, like an A1c test, or immunizations, like an annual influenza shot, they may be due for.
Flipping to a "Proactive" care model by Leveraging the Appointment-Based Model provides many benefits for both the pharmacy team and the patient. For the patient, we are able to ensure all of their medications are ready at one time, reducing the amount of trips a patient may have to make to the pharmacy. We can also ensure we are ready to administer any needed vaccines previously discussed with the patient, or offer additional advanced services, like an A1c test, in the same appointment.
For the pharmacy, the benefits are numerous as well! Knowing when patients are coming to pick up their medications helps the staff prioritize dispensing functions, as well as can help manage inventory. This also gives the pharmacy team time to call for refills, medication therapy changes if applicable, and prep vaccines/other advanced services prior to the patient's arrival.
How do I get started?
Start small! Starting a medication synchronization program and switching to an appointment-based model can seem daunting- but by starting small you can build a program that is sustainable for your site. Here are a few tips our team has used to get started:
Focus on one group of patients, such as patients with diabetes. For example, focusing on starting medication synchronization for patients on metformin, then expanding to patients on other therapies. Through medication synchronization, you may be able to check on these patients' A1cs as well!
Focus on one innovation for these patients. Since it is flu shot season, maybe you want to focus only on recommending flu vaccines with each medication synchronization call to get started.
Make it fun! Make a friendly competition between your staff for who can recommend the most flu shots for a small prize, like dessert from a bakery down the street.
Additionally, the Flip the Pharmacy website provides many resources to help get you started, including a Pharmacy Self-Assessment Quiz and a Monthly Check-in Guide. You can assess these resources and more here: Domain 1 | Flip the Pharmacy
What are your best practices for medication synchronization? Share a comment with the group below!
Katie Hettinger, PharmD Community Practice Research Fellow | Purdue University
Team Lead for Indiana in FtP Cohort 2