Texas independent dispenses critical benefits of compliance packaging

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Texas independent dispenses critical benefits of compliance packaging

By Michael Johnsen - 05/29/2018
There aren’t many solutions that can truly relieve the many pressures independent pharmacy operators face, but one operator in the Lone Star State has tapped into something that makes a big impact. Gabe Guijarro, who operates The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy just 120 miles outside of Houston in Lufkin, Texas, has identified a way to drive patient adherence metrics higher, while keeping operating costs in check by using Cardinal Health’s Dispill Multi-Dose Packaging solution.

The blister pack service Dispill helps improve pharmacy operations in four ways, Guijarro said, by improving patient adherence, generating patient loyalty, mitigating inventory costs and creating some pretty powerful marketing behind word-of-mouth messaging.

Improves patient adherence

It all starts with a journey toward better patient adherence and the ability to positively impact star ratings. Guijarro had assumed his patients already were by and large adherent to their medications, but found out otherwise when he looked at the records. “Once we began an adherence program, I was shocked by the [amount] of nonadherence we were seeing,” he said.

To help improve that adherence, Guijarro moved many of his chronic disease patients into a medication synchronization program. Still, for a small population of patients, that Med Sync program wasn’t enough, so Guijarro set off in search of a new solution.

That led him to Cardinal Health’s Dispill Multi-dose Packaging solution, which he implemented about one year ago.

Dispill packaging provides prescribed medication, over-the-counter remedies, or vitamins and supplements in an all-inclusive blister pack that can not only be delineated by day, but also by time of day, such as morning doses before breakfast or medicines to be taken after supper.

The blister cells can hold up to 31 days of morning, noon, evening and bedtime doses, as well as a printed label with personalized instructions. This helps give the highest-risk patients a way to ensure they are taking the right medication and the right dose at the right time.

Generates patient loyalty

By helping patients remain adherent to their medication regimen, Dispill ultimately helps improve health outcomes. Those improved outcomes in turn result in fewer doctor and hospital visits and, quite possibly, the reduction in the number of medicines a patient has to take to maintain their health.

A service that helps do all of that, and it’s exclusive to one pharmacy? That engenders an intense sense of loyalty among patients, Guijarro said. “On a qualitative basis, one of the most satisfying things we hear is that we have patients and/or caregivers telling us that it has completely relieved all of the stress,” he said. “There’s peace of mind among family members that their loved one can manage their medications.”

Mitigates inventory costs

Cardinal Health’s Dispill service also positively impacts the management of the pharmacy, Guijarro added, including improvements in pharmacy workflow and inventory management. “I can control many of the large expenses associated with running the business,” he said. “Inventory is better managed, and I can schedule employee or staff when they’re needed. Our goal is to move as many patients onto compliance packaging as possible.”

Notably, Guijarro wants to move 90% of his Med Sync population, which numbers around 1,200 patients, into compliance packaging.

Creates word-of-mouth messaging

Today, Guijarro has more than 260 patients on the Dispill service, and is onboarding new patients to that service at a pace of two to three per week because, well, they’re talking. “What happens is these patients go back to their physicians and take the [Dispill] pack with them,” Guijarro said. “Seeing it is driving adherence for that patient, [those prescribers] then send us their complex patients to help them be compliant to drug therapy.”

Guijarro has taken that word-of-mouth marketing to the next level. He hired a dedicated sales professional who targets local doctors’ offices and demonstrates how the packaging works. Guijarro also has Dispill packaging on hand whenever his Medicine Shoppe participates in a community health function.

“We always bring Dispill samples, brochures and marketing information to these healthcare fairs to show [attendees] the benefit of Dispill. One of the best things we’ve done is share the service with caregivers,” he said. “Sometimes a patient’s first thought is, ‘I really don’t need this.’ But when the caregiver sees the system, they’re the ones who say, ‘Yes, you do need that.’”

Learn more about Dispill at RBC 2018. To register for the tradeshow, please click here.

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