By MARK METROVICH
For physicians, ensuring that patients are taking their medication is a vital step to better and healthier outcomes. Ensuring that patients follow the correct dosages on prescriptions and take them at the right time reduces complications and possibly further treatments for worse issues.
But sometimes treatment plans have complications, and there could be moments and/or reasons when med adherence is hard to achieve.
The reasons could be innocent and understandable. Perhaps a patient missed a date to fill their prescription. Or maybe fear of COVID-19 keeps them from going out to the pharmacy.
A lack of medication adherence can prolong an illness; but while making sure patients take their meds on time is important, that can only happen if patients receive their meds on time. C. Everett Koop, MD, once said, “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” That is where streamlining and increasing patient access to medication comes in.
With my work, I see just how ensuring easier patient access makes a positive difference in medication adherence. With the right set-up, you can ensure that patients can receive their prescriptions right at the doctor’s office, or that they can receive them hand-delivered to their doorstep. By making it as easy as possible for them to get what they need, they now have a greater opportunity to follow the doctor’s prescribed regime, increasing the likelihood of healthier outcomes.
With that in mind, here are the two ways a pharmacy can make medications more accessible to patients:
- Partner with Physicians
Getting a prescription filled is a two-step process, when it actually does not need to be. With most pharmacies, patients first make the trek to the doctor to receive their prescription, then need to make another trip to a pharmacy to fill the prescription.
If we are asking patients to spend their valuable time out at the doctor’s office, why not give them their prescription before they leave?
In my experience, I have seen the difference in what happens when a physician’s office partners with pharmacies. By the pharmacy putting their kiosk in the clinic, it provides a next step for their care that does not require another trip. A true win-win for them and for the physician.
Gone are the days of waiting in line at the retail pharmacy or putting off med refills because they could not get in the car today. Instead, the patient walks up to the kiosk, gets put on the phone with a pharmacist, and inserts their prescription. The pharmacy rep then goes over the treatment, and within a few minutes, the medications are dispensed.
By receiving their prescription and directions about it right then and there, patients are also less likely to forget when to take the dosage, how often, etc. Simply put, partnering with physicians is the first way to achieve next-level medication adherence.
- Free Delivery
One of the reasons why people quit taking their medication is because their prescriptions are not available to them. If patients are required to drive the pharmacy each and every time they need to refill a prescription, it’s a higher likelihood that they will miss out on a refill.
Maybe the patient is too busy to make a second trip, or perhaps they have a chronic medical condition that makes traveling difficult. Either of these reasons are understandable, but both lead to the same unfortunate result: now the patient is not taking their medication.
That is why medication delivery is so important. If we give the patient an easier way (either on the phone or online) to schedule prescription delivery right to their doorstep, we ensure that their meds end up in their hands, exactly as the doctor planned.
Combined with technology that can put a patient’s medicine cabinet virtually in their hands, pharmacists now have a way to ensure that prescription refills and medication adherence are easier than ever.
These benefits have already saved people time and money for years, but during this pandemic, when avoiding contact is more important, the delivery service now plays a valuable role in keeping patients home and healthy. All physicians should love the sound of that.
Mark Metrovich is the Vice President of Business Development at MedAvail Technologies, Inc, a pharmacy company that partners with providers and patients to streamline shipping of medications. You can find out information about Mark’s company by visiting https://medavail.com/. If you are interested in reaching out to Mark regarding this article or any other relevant healthcare topics, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org