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Medication synchronization increases prescription efficiency
A new medication synchronization program at Mayo Clinic Health System – Oakridge in Osseo is making the pick-up process easier and quicker for patients like Deb Gregory.
“Because I’m on many medications, I was making multiple trips to the pharmacy because they were coming due at different times,” says Deb, 62, a retired teacher from Osseo, Wisconsin.
Medication synchronization, or med sync for short, is a prescription autofill program. Pharmacists work with patients to coordinate automatic refilling of medications and sync fill schedules.
“We oversee filling prescriptions for patients,” says Michael Whittlinger, a pharmacist who helped start the program. “If the medication needs refills or is expired, we help to manage that ahead of time so the patient is not surprised by coming in and learning there are no refills available. We’re trying to make things as easy as possible.”
About 250 patients in Osseo are enrolled in the optional program. Those who prefer to call in refills, speak with a pharmacist or use Patient Online Services, the patient portal, can continue to do so.
In addition to making the process more convenient for patients and cutting down trips to the pharmacy, it also encourages medication adherence. Sometimes patients may find that they miss taking a dose here and there. With medication synchronization, the patient’s pharmacy team is watching the fills, which may increase the likelihood that the patient stays on track by adding a higher degree of accountability.
Efficiency was a factor behind launching the program — not just for patients, but also for pharmacy staff. Tracking when medications are due allows staff to refill prescriptions during slower times versus having refills called in or requested in an urgent manner.
“It’s a win-win,” Michael says. “It really helps our workflow quite a bit and helps patients get prescriptions when they are needed.”
Prescribers have responded positively, as well. Medication synchronization confirms that patients are picking up medications as prescribed and clearly shows dispense history.
Deb, who has diabetes and heart issues and has undergone joint replacement surgeries, learned of the program through the pharmacy.
“They let me know about it and asked if I would be interested in trying it,” she says. “I thought it was a great idea.”
She now has one monthly pickup for all of her medications.
“It’s really nice. I get a notification that my prescriptions are filled and usually ahead of when I actually need them,” Deb says. “I don’t have to go in that day, but they’re ready for me, which is just awesome.”
She adds that she appreciates still being able to ask questions of her pharmacist when she comes in.
“They’re very cordial, very helpful — none of that has changed,” Deb says. “This is just a nice added feature.”
Check with your local pharmacy for more information about the medication synchronization program.