Understanding patient barriers to adherence is a key starting point for improving outcomes—particularly for diabetics. Those barriers come in many flavors: access, habit, health literacy, behavioral health issues, even cultural variances in how a patient views health practices and the US health system as a whole. It’s a nagging problem, as is evidenced by the continued relevance of this decade-old list of barriers and strategies for overcoming them. Hosted by Pharmacy Times magazine, a panel of care providers studying collaborative care in diabetes management recently came up with this practical suggestion: explain exactly what is in an injectable, how it works, and why it is important. Then, do the first injection with a patient in the office or pharmacy.
Pharmacists have been interested in adherence well before Star Ratings came to be—but in these times of soaring health costs and shrinking margins, the topic is ubiquitous. It’s even part of a push for adherence education and communication among the direct-to-consumer faction within the pharma industry itself. Medication synchronization winds up on most lists of tips to improve adherence, and it’s a program pharmacists like for a range of reasons that go beyond better patient outcomes: improved workflow, more fills, and happier patients, to name a few.
In our Sterling pharmacies, we were certainly familiar with the benefits of the program. Like many other independent pharmacies, we’d been doing it for some patients for a while. But about a year ago, we decided to double down on our commitment to implement the program. Here are a few things we discovered along the way: