Adherence to a medication regime following hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is a crucial predictor of a patient’s survival rate. Medication adherence for this condition is typically very low, as it requires patients to take multiple medications per day. A typical medication regime may include up to five different prescriptions daily. Studies have shown that after 30 days, most ACS patients have stopped taking at least one of their required medications. Researchers at the Denver Medical Center have discovered that pharmacist intervention is a critical part in maintaining patient medication adherence. Patients who were able to obtain increased one-on-one visits with a pharmacist adhered to their medication schedule more closely in the year following their hospitalization than those patients who did not receive follow-up care from a pharmacist.
Researchers had pharmacists provide patient education at 1-week and 1-month following discharge from the hospital, patient educational visits, and also left voice mail reminders to help patients remember to take their medications. The messages also reminded patients to refill their medications 14 days before their due dates, 7 days before due date, and on the date of refill itself.
Of the 253 participants in the study, 241 patients completed it. Of the patients in the intervention, 83.9% were adherent to their medication schedule, whereas those in the control group were only 73.9% adherent to their medication regime. The cost of pharmacists intervention was estimated at $360 per patient, and increased the portion of patients that followed their medication schedule by 15% overall.
Pharmacists play a unique role in helping patients recover from hospitalization after ACS, and proper intervention can mean the difference between life and death. Ensure that pharmacy staff members leave reminders for patients to refill their prescriptions before their due date, or as per your pharmacy procedures. Pharmacists can also anticipate commonly asked questions from those who have suffered from ACS hospitalization, and ensure that all staff members are trained to answer queries which may arise. Collaborating with a patient’s primary care physician can also help to create a well rounded care plan for patients that have recently been released from the hospital.
Those that are further along in their recovery should be assessed for medication adherence, and adjustments made to medications if needed. Pharmacies can ensure that all patients are taking their required medications on schedule, and help determine when the optimal time to take every medication will be. Pharmacists can also check for drug interactions, inquire about patient well being, and determine if reminder calls are needed to help caretakers and patients remember to pick up prescriptions on time. These simple steps can help increase long term survival rates, ensure that patients are adhering to their medication regime, and improve overall health, in addition to forming a community bond between your local pharmacy and clients in need.