Medication synchronization. By now, all pharmacists have heard of it and are urged to implement it in the name of healthier patients and higher star ratings. But med sync has far-reaching benefits for more than noncompliant patients; local physicians may also see your pharmacy as a lucrative and necessary member of the health care team. Thrive Pharmacy Solutions of Plano, Texas, opened its doors less than a year ago, and its synchronization program already boasts of nearly 1,000 patients. John Gregg, one of Thrive’s pharmacists, explains how he and his staff found a creative way to take their synchronization program to the next level.
John Gregg, co-owner of Thrive Pharmacy Solutions, knows the value of adherence in the community setting. Armed with corporate experience and his business partner, Tony Willoughby, John set out to change the course of pharmacy through Thrive Pharmacy Solutions. “Now,” he says, “we run the playbook of how we can drive better outcomes overall, improving medication adherence in pharmaceutical outcomes.”
Thrive’s med sync program, Simple Sync, is a growing, successful operation. John tailors the ever-evolving process as the pharmacy grows and changes, and the “pods” he created have brought clarity and productivity to the staff. Within seven months, over 650 patients were enrolled in the Simple Sync program. It has been so successful that it has benefited other areas of Thrive Pharmacy Solutions; according to John, they turned their inventory over two-and-a-half times in one month and anticipate 30 turnovers each year.
For the pharmacists who want to level up their adherence programs, John recommends going outside the pharmacy and offering their knowledge and services to local physicians and health groups. That’s where pharmacists can make their biggest impact. John attributes Thrive’s niche (solving operational needs for physicians) as the catalyst of Simple Sync’s success. John understood how important pharmacists could be to prescribers, so Thrive Pharmacy Solutions teamed up with a local ACO with access to 98 clinics; Thrive Pharmacy currently has a presence in six doctor’s offices. Physicians refer their non-adherent patients to Thrive, and John and his team begin the process of helping these patients become compliant. John finds that physicians are concerned with adherence and star ratings, yet they often don’t understand what that means or how important it is to their business.
This area is where pharmacists can step in and offer knowledge and solutions to physicians. They also make themselves accessible when physicians encounter “operational headaches,” as John calls the potential problems that physicians and pharmacists encounter when filling prescriptions. He cites an example of a study they conducted with diabetic patients.
“The average chronic diabetic patient had around seventeen phone notes a quarter. These phone notes are calls that are usually about their prescription, and they take so much time out of the physician’s day. We knew we could fix that with med sync because most of the calls were about refills, and they were constantly getting bombarded. After we launched the med sync program, we reduced those phone calls to less than one per quarter because we have the pharmacist on site who takes care of it, gets it all done, and eliminates all those problems. To be honest, that’s been the niche that has given us the most buy-in.”
Personally, John feels his biggest impact has been finding the patients who are severely struggling with their medications and completely changing their lives by taking the extra time to educate his patients. He does this by finding better, more affordable alternatives to his patients’ problematic medications. That’s the true role of a pharmacist, in his opinion, and that will be key in the future. He believes pharmacists need to “stay in their own swim lane” and focus on managing prescriptions and adherence profiles to make a difference. Physicians won’t be looking for other physicians, but pharmacists, to fill the gaps that they can’t in healthcare. “The future of pharmacy is still the community-based, pharmaceutical management of chronic health in the community setting,” he asserts.
John also advocates partnership in pharmacy. He and Tony have worked together in three different settings for over fourteen years. “I’m only good at a couple of things, only a couple of things,” he says with a hint of a smile. “Everything else, I’m not really good at. Luckily, Tony is good at those things. Between the two of us, we can solve most problems or call one of our contacts.”
Thrive Pharmacy Solution’s success could be your pharmacy’s success. Let your sync program take your pharmacy to a whole new level.