There is an established correlation between poor medication adherence and increased mortality. Patients with complex medical needs and chronic disease often have difficulty with adherence because they have to take multiple medications each day.
The patients served by LTC and central fill pharmacies typically have complex medical needs. This means that it is essential to offer options designed to maximize medication adherence. Research shows that packaging interventions – such as offering pouch packaging – can positively impact medication compliance in patients with chronic disease. The packaging that you offer through your pharmacy is the most direct way that you can have an impact on patient compliance.
The evolution of adherence packaging
Medication adherence packaging has been around in one form or another for decades. Blister packs were the first type of adherence packaging available. They were originally designed to help the patient keep track of medication that needed to be taken at particular times during the day. Blister packs are now a staple for both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Adherence packaging has evolved to include pouch packaging. Pouch packaging improved upon the blister pack model because it allows for multi-dose packs. Multi-dose strip packaging streamlines the process of administering medications to patients who have complex medical needs and need multiple medications each day.
As technology improves, adherence packaging is becoming more sophisticated. There are medication adherence packaging systems that can customize each pouch to include patient information, medication information, the date and time the medication needs to be taken, and can even print a picture of the patient on the pouch. All of these features help increase compliance and minimize the risk of a patient receiving incorrect medication.
Why medication adherence packaging is in place
Medication adherence packaging was originally invented to make it easier for patients to take a single dose of medication each day. Blister packs made it easier for patients to take the correct medication dosage.
The original goals for adherence packaging were to increase compliance and protect patients from accidentally taking too much or too little medication. That hasn’t changed. What has changed are design and improvements in technology, which makes it possible for patients who are on multiple daily medications to benefit from adherence packaging. For example, strip pouches make it simple for patients to keep up with multiple medications, with daily dose packs that are organized by time of day and include appropriate dosing.
The benefits of medication adherence packaging systems for pharmacies
There is no question that medication adherence packaging can help improve patient compliance, as it helps patients keep better track of what they are taking. Increased compliance is good for the patient and caregivers. Compliance packaging minimizes the risk of patients missing doses or taking the wrong medication. Medication adherence packaging also streamlines and simplifies the process of getting the correct medication to the patient. Medication adherence packaging systems can also provide benefits to the pharmacies that implement the systems.
The majority of patients served by LTC and central fill pharmacies take multiple types of medication each day which makes the process of accurately and quickly filling those prescriptions difficult to do manually. A medication adherence packaging system streamlines the process of filling those prescriptions with the use of automation. This type of system can store patient information so you can quickly dispense medications and serve more patients within your current space.
An automated strip pouch packaging system can improve the workflow in your pharmacy, decrease human error associated with manually filling prescriptions, and allow you to serve more patients. There are even compact strip pouch packaging systems that can help you significantly increase the number of patients you serve without requiring you to move to a larger space.