In the last couple of years, there has been a lot of discussion about pharmacies and pharmacists taking the initiative to use our skills to help improve our patient’s compliance to their personal medication regimens. Seeing a great chance to lead this effort in our own community, Medicine Man Pharmacy (at two locations, Medicine Man Prairie in Hayden and Medicine Man West in Post Falls) has made a huge investment in automation and technology that will help us efficiently strip package and combine medications for our patients into dose packs that are organized around dosage times.
Medicine Man Pharmacy has been serving North Idaho since 1978 and is the very first in our area to offer this comprehensive prescription compliance program at a very low cost to the consumer. It helps us improve our patient's adherence to their medication regimens. Medications can work better when they are taken regularly and properly resulting in better health maintenance and improved quality of life for the patient with less work and effort on the patient's or caregiver's part to accomplish this, the Medicine Man MedPax are clearly marked with the date, day and time of day the packaged medications are to be taken by the patient. Each individual package is also labeled with all the information that is required to be on a prescription label in addition to expiration dates and lot numbers and product descriptions. The medications are dispensed to the patient in this packaging rather than individual Rx containers.
The advantages to the MedPax system for the patient are huge:
- All prescriptions are synchronized to be filled the same day every month (every 28 days) resulting in fewer trips to the pharmacy for the patient or caregiver.
- Medication regimens are studied and reviewed by a pharmacist for problems, errors, drug interactions, savings opportunities and much more on setup and reviewed monthly thereafter before filling and packaging the medications.
- The patient or their caregiver will spend a lot less time every month organizing medications into pillboxes or whatever (if anything) they may have been doing in the past freeing up their time and giving back some independence from complicated multiple medications and dosage regimens.
- The packaging makes it easier for patients to know when to take their next dose, and enables caregivers to manage multiple medications with ease at home, ensuring patients take their medications as prescribed, stay healthy, and avoid unnecessary hospital stays and costs related to improper prescription medication usage.
- With dosages and medication regimens examined and arranged by pharmacists, an integral part of this system, there is better assurance that medications will be taken at the right time and in the right combinations.
- Use of compliance packaging for patients coming out of a hospital stay on a lot of unfamiliar medications could decrease the chance of hospital readmission due to improper or misunderstood prescription medication usage. About 20 percent of Medicare patients return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, a trend that costs taxpayers $17 billion a year and prompted healthcare regulations that penalize hospitals for readmissions. More post-discharge adverse events are related to medications than other causes. About half of patients don’t take their medications as prescribed. (New England Healthcare Institute, 2009).