PHARMACY

Diabetes patients using online portal showed better cholesterol drug adherence, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

OAKLAND, Calif. — Diabetic users of an online patient portfolio for medication refills improved their adherence to cholesterol-lowering medications and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California San Francisco Medical School followed 17,760 diabetic patients with an average age of 62 years who received care from Kaiser Permanente in northern California between the beginning of 2006 and the end of 2010. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal Medical Care.

All the patients were registered users of My Health Manager, Kaiser Permanente’s personal health record and had been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications. The researchers divided them into three groups based on their use of the portal to order refills of the medications, including a control group that never used the online refill function; occasional users of it who requested refills at least once; and exclusive users who requested all their refills through the portal. Among the exclusive users, nonadherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined by 6% among the exclusive users.

"Our study showed that when patients used online prescription refills, it can improve adherence and health outcomes," Kaiser Permanente Division of Research scientist Andrew Karter said, noting that adherence is among the ‘hardest things for providers to influence.’ "On top of those benefits, we know that online refill systems increase the efficiency of pharmacy operations and provide more convenience for patients."

 

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University of Georgia pharmacy professor becomes first appointee to Rite Aid-endowed professorship

BY Alaric DeArment

ATHENS, Ga. — A professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy has been named the first Rite Aid professor in community pharmacy, the school said.

Beth Phillips, who took the new role on Dec. 1, joined the college’s faculty in 2007, and the school said the professorship, its newest, includes a $250,000 endowment for salary support, research and teaching assistance and traveling expenses. Of the school’s other endowed professorships, one also is sponsored by Kroger.

"We are delighted for the support Rite Aid has shown in establishing this community pharmacy professorship," college dean Svein Øie said. "The professorship will be key in our efforts to advance community pharmacy in our new healthcare environment."

Phillips teaches courses in community and ambulatory care in the doctor of pharmacy and graduate certificate in clinical pharmacy programs at the school and was named teacher of the year in 2012. In her 18 years teaching pharmacy, she has trained more than 60 postgraduate-year-one and postgraduate-year-two residents.

 

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VoicePort introduces SynchroScript medication synchronization tool

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — VoicePort on Monday announced that they have launched their Medication Synchronization Program, SynchroScript, along with two of their other adherence services with Tops Friendly Markets Pharmacy, of Williamsville, N.Y. 

Medication Synchronization is an industry solution that has proven to improve prescription adherence through a multiple-tier touchpoint with patients. "Allowing pharmacy patients the opportunity to pick up multiple prescription medications once a month has shown to significantly improve a patient’s Proportion Days Covered on their medications," stated Alphonse Sasso, VP business development. "When consumers stay adherent to their maintenance medications, it translates to improved patient health outcomes while also increasing pharmacy efficiencies — a true win-win solution."

VoicePort’s systems leverage their proprietary front-end portal as an analysis tool to help pharmacists and staff identify patients to participate in the program. The portal then offers anchor medication recommendations that the pharmacy team can align to get all meds on a once-a-month schedule and calculates the required short fills necessary to help pharmacists complete the task for the patient.  

Each pharmacy also is supported with an automated calling system from VoicePort to enroll patients in the synchronization program, to schedule the pharmacist-patient counseling sessions and to alert patients when their medications are ready for pick-up. VoicePort also provides back-end analytical tools to help measure pharmacy progress on keeping patients on schedule with their medications — a complete turn-key solution to help deliver greater patient health and wellness.

"Capitalizing on VoicePort’s technology and automation helps our pharmacies to focus on our patients to offer added care and instruction," said Brian Huckle, director of Tops Friendly Markets Pharmacy. "VoicePort’s solutions are automated to complement our pharmacy’s workflow to deliver added efficiencies and improved Medication Adherence for our pharmacy patients."

Top Friendly Markets Pharmacies also have launched a patient education and written translation service to assist patients in more clearly understanding their prescription instructions and to assist those who don’t speak English in understanding the correct instructions on how to properly take their medications. The solution, Meducation, offers simplified written instructions on a fifth and sixth grade reading level available in 18 different languages. Meducation offers universal medication schedulers, pictograms and device video demos to help patient either at the pharmacy or at home review their medication instructions to ensure proper adherence.     

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