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Are 90 Day Prescriptions Better for Adherence?
Nonadherence to medication is a major problem in healthcare. Studies have shown an average of a 50% nonadherence rate, with numbers reaching 80% in the treatment of some conditions. This poor adherence rate isn’t just bad for pharmacies, it’s estimated over 100,000 people die each year from it. The question then is—what can your pharmacy do to help?
An idea that is being suggested and acted on more and more, is switching to 90 day supplies. The thought behind it is, if a patient doesn’t have to make a trip each month to the pharmacy and has more supply on hand, it’ll be easier for them to continue taking a medication. While this may be helpful in some cases, the reasons behind why nonadherence rates are so high is complex, and longer prescriptions might actually leave some patients worse off.
One of the obvious negatives to 90 day supplies is it reduces visits to a pharmacist from 12 times a year to 4. For many patients, interacting with their pharmacist is the most frequent person-to-person contact they have in healthcare. With fewer visits, there are fewer opportunities to council, have discussions, make recommendations, or notice concerning developments with the patient. On the other hand, 90 day supplies do offer a more cost-effective solution for both the patient and the pharmacy with higher reimbursements, which is one reason why 90 day supplies have increased from 7% to 20% of retail prescriptions from 2010 to 2019.
One way to help with adherence is to create an open dialogue with your patients. Many people believe nonadherence is mostly due to lack of access or care, but from patient data we see it is more often a willful decision to stop taking medication. Patients are often reluctant to offer up that information, but pharmacists have a unique position with the frequency they see patients to open conversation that allows for honesty and intervention. One tip is to assume nonadherence when asking questions. This allows patients to not feel judged and be dishonest about their habits and can further increase their trust in the process. Without a sincere belief in the care and compassion of healthcare professionals, the effectiveness of treatment suffers drastically.
So while 90 day supplies can offer savings and increase adherence in some cases, the best solution to tackling the nonadherence issue is also the one that’s best for your business—engaging your patients in honest and open dialogue. Their trust in you will not only improve your bottom line, it will also help their health outcomes.
Read more at PharmacyTimes.com