The adherence impact of a program offering specialty pharmacy services to patients using retail pharmacies

This study looks at a program called Specialty Connect utilized by specialty pharmacies in retail pharmacies. It looked at patient adherence over a 12-month period in 115 CVS Pharmacies in the Philadelphia, PA area.

Patients with “specialty conditions” such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary arterial hypertension were recognized in the Specialty Connect system and pharmacists were prompted to talk with such patients. The patient was given the option of utilizing the service and, if he or she agreed, the choice of having the medication delivered to their home or physician’s office, or available for in-store pick up. The patient was also told the pharmacist was available for counseling 24 hours a day, were counseled on their medications and adherence, and were given the option of refill reminders. The control group followed standard procedures for dispensing and counseling.

Refills of patients who were new to therapy were monitored over the 12-month period as well as those who had previously been receiving specialty medications. Compared to control groups, patients who were new to therapy had an increase of 17.5% in the rate of obtaining a refill on their specialty medications. Patients previously receiving specialty medications had an increase between 6.6% and 10.8% in refill rates.

This study shows how impactful a pharmacist’s interventions truly can be. Especially in the case of specialty mediations, adherence is very important in not only the treatment of the conditions but the costs of the treatments and resolving of issues related to nonadherence. A program like Specialty Connect can help patients with specialty conditions gain better access to and knowledge of their medications.

Moore JM, Matlin OS, Lotvin AM, et al. The adherence impact of a program offering specialty pharmacy serviced to patients using retail pharmacies. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016;56:47-53.

1 thought on “The adherence impact of a program offering specialty pharmacy services to patients using retail pharmacies”

  1. Adherence is such an important issue that health care professionals, and pharmacists especially, should address. A patient’s adherence to his or her medications plays a vital role in the improvement of his or her medical conditions and health in general. When prescribed an antibiotic for an ear infection a few years ago, I remember how difficult it was to remember to take one every single day, and this infection was a rather “minor” issue. Patients with “specialty conditions” should be particularly attentive to adhering to their medications because the lack of adherence may potentially lead to deleterious results. I strongly believe that programs such as Specialty Connect are worthy investments and that pharmacists can make a big impact on the continual treatment and well-being of a patient. Caring for patients should not stop once they leave the doctor’s office. I believe that the implementation of programs in patients’ pharmacies is an excellent strategy to continue the care of patients once they leave their health care facilities, eliminate non-adherence problems, and improve the well-being of patients.

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