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Larissa Doucette

Appointment-based medication synchronization (ABMS) programs improve patient adherence by 3.4 to 6.1 times, a study published in the November/December 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association reports. ABMS programs allow pharmacists to coordinate a patient’s chronic refill medications so that they all come due on a single day of the month. According to research conducted on patients served by Thrifty White Pharmacy, a chain of community pharmacies located in several Midwestern states, 66% to 79% of patients who participated in an experimental synchronization program were considered adherent. By comparison, 37% to 41% of control patients were considered adherent. The study authors noted that the “monthly appointment allows pharmacists to educate, engage, and solve problems,” and “provides an opportunity for pharmacists and patients to engage in mutual problem solving about issues such as physical impairments, lack of affordability, low literacy, and lack of social support.” The study concludes, “Although more research is needed to fully understand the impact on other outcomes and in different settings, the ABMS program shows promise as a strategy for pharmacists to use in serving the needs of patients.”