Lay the Groundwork with Med Sync


Medication synchronization improves pharmacy efficiency and can boost revenues

Medication synchronization (med sync) isn’t just another program to add to your pharmacy. Med sync provides the foundation from which you can build your entire portfolio of services and programs, Pam Bernadella, director of Health Mart Training and Professional Services, told attendees at a medication synchronization workshop during McKesson’s ideaShare 2015 in San Diego last month.

With an appointment-based medication synchronization model, a pharmacy gains efficiencies that allow it to increase capacity without adding staff. Improved pharmacy workflow allows staff to conduct medication therapy management, offer additional services and boost adherence.

Increased adherence improves patient outcomes, pharmacy revenue and the performance measures that are increasingly important for participating in preferred networks. Half of the Health Mart® pharmacies in the top 20% of performance measures on the Electronic Quality Improvement Platform for Plans and Pharmacies (EQuIPP™) offer medication synchronization.

Throughout McKesson ideaShare, speakers encouraged pharmacy owners to set a goal of syncing 100 patients over the next month.

3 Steps to Syncing More Patients

  1. Set a specific goal. Enrolling just five patients in med sync each weekday allows you to add 100 in a month. At the 100-patient level, pharmacies begin to reap the efficiency benefits of proactively filling prescriptions instead of reacting when a patient calls or comes in for a refill, and the revenue and profitability benefits from filling more prescriptions.
  2. Start slowly. Begin recruiting patients who have three to five prescriptions, rather than those on the most medications, who will be more challenging to sync. Target your recruitment efforts to customers with chronic disease states, Medicare patients, those living in assisted living facilities, and those where you may have additional revenue opportunities, such as under pay-for-performance contracts that will reward you for improving adherence.
  3. Talk about the benefit. Few customers will understand what “med sync” means, and many are reluctant to enroll in another “program.” Train your staff to talk to customers in simple terms, such as asking, “How would you like to receive all your prescription refills at the same time?” If the patient agrees, schedule time when your staff can talk with the customer to start the process.

A Real Boost to the Bottom Line

Improved adherence from syncing the medications of just 100 patients can increase pharmacy revenue by more than $91,000 a year, according to a study in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.1 That’s based on patients with chronic diseases filling more than four prescriptions per month, and refills rising from about seven a year to nearly eleven.

Incremental Script Lift with Med Sync

Improving Adherence
Variables Impact
Patients improve adherence through enrollment in med sync100
Average number of chronic disease state prescriptions per patient4.65
Expected Rx fills in one month for 100 patients enrolled in med sync465
Number of months of refills/year for nonadherent patients7.4
Number of months of refills/year for adherent patients10.9
Expected increase in Rx fills per year: adherent vs. nonadherent1,628
Average retail cost per Rx$56
Expected revenue increase/year$91,140
Source: Holdford D, Inocencio T. “Adherence and Persistence Associated with an Appointment-Based Medication Synchronization Model.” JAPhA. 2013; 53:576-583. Download PDF. Accessed March 9, 2015.

Because Tyson Drug Co. has a robust medication synchronization program that improves adherence, the Memphis office of Cigna-HealthSpring recently contacted owner Bob Lomenick to serve more than 500 patients, and that’s just to start. Lomenick estimates he may be able to add 20 customers a week to his program. (Read Bob’s story: “One Pharmacy’s Three-Part Solution to Medication Adherence;” or watch his video interview.)

“A $4 generic and a Coke are not going to keep the lights on, but a senior with multiple chronic conditions and real healthcare needs will,” President Steve Courtman told Health Mart owners during the Health Mart Annual Meeting. Synchronizing medications will create time for pharmacies to provide more services and recommend front-end products. “This is not a revolution, but an evolution of what you are doing today,” Courtman said.

Find more tips for implementing med sync in these articles:

Share your med sync best practices in the Comments sections below, and continue to follow Smart Retailing Rx to learn more ways to make med sync work in your pharmacy.


1 “Adherence and Persistence Associated With an Appointment-Based Medication Synchronization Program,” Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Vol. 53, No. 6, November–December 2013. LINK