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Walgreens Discusses Success Of Community Pharmacy Programs In Improving Patient Medication Adherence

Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) recently presented the latest research on how community pharmacy programs, as well as new adherence models and metrics, can help drive better medication adherence. The research, presented at the World Congress Summit in Philadelphia last Friday, demonstrates the company’s success in improving patient medication adherence by developing an infrastructure that tracks patient level adherence and uses predictive modeling along with risk stratification to identify patient patterns.

Kristi Rudkin, PharmD, senior director of product development for Walgreens, and Michael S. Taitel, PhD, Walgreens senior director of clinical outcomes and analytic services, discussed the research findings along with product-specific interventions focused on empowering patients to better self-manage their condition. The discussion also examined the latest research related to new-to-therapy counseling and automated Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) refill reminders.

“Medication non-adherence is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today,” Rudkin said. “By developing programs and services that can help reduce these barriers, and examining ways to drive cost savings and improved health outcomes through better adherence, we can help more people get, stay and live well.”

New-to-therapy patients often face adherence challenges while trying to learn a new medication regimen. A retrospective cohort study assessing the impact of pharmacist-led, face-to-face counseling in new-to-therapy statin patients found that compared to usual pharmacy care, those patients receiving face-to-face counseling had 7.2 percent higher adherence. 1

Forgetfulness can also be a contributor to non-adherence. In a pilot program, automated refill reminders (ARR) significantly improved patient adherence to medications used to treat chronic conditions. Patients who received automated Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) telephonic reminders had a significantly higher medication possession ratio (MPR) compared with patients who did not receive reminders. Additionally, the persistence for the intervention was nearly eight days longer than that of the control group.

“Helping patients improve their medication adherence is a challenge for providers, payers and many others within the health care system,” Taitel said. “We’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of several programs and initiatives - including our new to therapy program, automated refill reminder calls. Integrating predictive modeling and risk stratification will help us be even more effective at driving better adherence, and ultimately better health outcomes.”

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