Managing patients and their clinical needs while achieving important pharmacy goals is possible with a single, powerful software solution.
Today’s pay-for-performance model means health plan incentives are significant contributors to a pharmacy’s financial well-being. Participation in preferred pharmacy networks is the doorway to serving more patients, and achieving high Medicare Star Ratings is the key.
These payer performance ratings are impacted by measures of medication adherence (through PDC methodology), which look at the use of oral diabetes medications, statins, and hypertension drugs. Medication safety and medication therapy management (in the form of CMR completion rates) measurements also have an impact on Star ratings. New PDC guidelines, released in 2018, continue to increase the pressure placed on pharmacies.
To be successful, both financially and in terms of patient outcomes, pharmacies require a tool that can help them target multiple goals at the same time. McKesson’s pharmacy management system, when integrated with their clinical solutions, is a comprehensive, user-friendly way to maximize efficiency and increase productivity in a number of important arenas.
Medication synchronization is a popular approach to driving medication adherence and boosting a pharmacy's bottom line. The process can streamline pharmacy workflow and free pharmacists from constant dispensing duties, while also increasing medication safety and compliance.
A robust medication synchronization program ultimately creates more time for patient contact in the form of medication counseling and management. The resulting increased adherence leads to improved outcomes. A potential side effect of this improved efficiency and increased patient touch is a boost in both pharmacy revenue and crucial payer performance ratings.
McKesson’s Pharmaserv technology pairs an integrated Med Sync program with gamechanging Adherence Performance Solution (APS) and Clinical Programs Solution (CPS) functionality. Together, the systems help drive adherence, improve patient outcomes, and achieve revenue goals.
Paul Fulmer, PharmD, is Pharmacist-in-Charge at Fulmer U-Save Pharmacy in the small rural community of Holdrege, Nebraska. He implemented a medication synchronization program in 2014 and experienced the logistical and financial challenges that often come with new technology.
“When we first started, we used a separate third-party software that was cumbersome,” Fulmer recalled. In addition to the extra effort, the program was costing Fulmer about $800 per month.
The pharmacy started using McKesson’s Pharmaserv software in 2011 for pharmacy management. When a technology update made Med Sync available through Pharmaserv, there was no looking back.
“Having Med Sync built into Pharmaserv is, I think, far and away the biggest change and upgrade that has helped our pharmacy,” Fulmer said. He cites increased efficiency, reduced inventory costs, and improved adherence numbers as top benefits.
Previous to the Pharmaserv Med Sync integration, Fulmer’s pharmacy had 220 synced patients. After only six months, that number has more than doubled to 500. “It’s so much easier to add and manage patients,” Fulmer said.
Utilizing Pharmaserv alone for their Med Sync program allowed Fulmer to eliminate that portion of the software program they had been using. This step helped reduce his operating costs by more than $400 per month. In addition, Fulmer was able to decrease his pharmacy inventory carrying costs by $100K, simply by being able to better predict his monthly output.
“We can now look for patients who are on expensive, brand-name meds, especially if they are the only ones, and, by getting them into sync, we only need to stock that drug five days before their sync date,” Fulmer said. “This is a big savings for us.”
Pharmaserv’s Adherence Performance Solution (APS) provides real-time patient data that has helped Fulmer identify and consult with patients who are non-adherent. Using APS has increased the pharmacy’s number of fills and has reduced DIR fees, ultimately leading the pharmacy to a 10% increase across its Star rating categories.
The Clinical Programs Solution (CPS) option identifies valuable clinical program opportunities during the prescription filling process, leading to more authentic patient engagement.
“It’s organic contact,” Fulmer said. “The patients initiate the visit and staff use [the pop-up messages] as an opportunity to talk to them about the sync program or to ask about barriers to taking their meds correctly.”
Implementing medication synchronization impacts a pharmacy’s business in just about every way, but not everyone is taking advantage of it. “I was on board from the beginning,” Fulmer said. “ I was interested in freeing up pharmacy time and changing our work flow from reactive to more proactive.”
Fulmer actually initiated medication synchronization with a paper-based folder system before turning to third-party software, which was also sub-optimal. “[That program] was time-consuming and had a data lag of at least a day,” Fulmer said.
Pharmaserv’s Med Sync, in conjunction with APS, accelerated the process significantly. “With Pharmaserv, we're able to really start aggressively expanding our reach,” Fulmer said. “In a short amount of time, we have been able to add a ton of people, choose the meds we want synced or not, and adjust their sync dates.”
Med Sync offers benefits that extend beyond individual independent pharmacies.
Using Pharmaserv, pharmacies can utilize Med Sync to improve their group ratings and
ultimately shrink their overall DIR fees. “I’m receiving such great benefits out of doing
this,” Fulmer said, “Why wouldn’t everybody?”