News Release

New APhA Foundation initiative examines economic benefits of medication synchronization model

WASHINGTON, DC – Patient enrollment begins today for an APhA Foundation research initiative studying how improved adherence through a medication synchronization model, known in the pharmacy community as the Appointment-Based Model (ABM), impacts medical and pharmacy costs. The ABM has demonstrated a positive impact on medication adherence in communities across the country, but this will be a first look at how adherence correlates with economic results. Supported by Pfizer, the research will focus on implementing the ABM in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for the first time and a Kroger grocery store pharmacy chain with a targeted population that is insured by a physician-owned Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

The study will observe 600 patients including a 200 patient control group, all receiving healthcare in Tucson, AZ. The 400 patient intervention group will be equally split between the FQHC and the chain. El Rio Health Center is the FQHC location, and Fry’s Food Stores is the grocery store pharmacy chain. Each site will implement the ABM in a way that aligns with their practice setting under the stipulation that patients will pick up their synchronized medications on a single day each month. The ACO, Arizona Connected Care, will provide economic data for all participating patients.

“We are pleased to be part of this project, which serves to educate and engage patients in their own good health,” said Jeffrey I. Selwyn, MD, medical director for Arizona Connected Care. “We believe patients should be active partners in their healthcare. Helping them understand why they are taking specific medications and how their medications could interact with each other is an important part of that process.” 

At El Rio Health Center, the program will be championed by pharmacy technicians who will perform initial and monthly calls to patients, synchronize medications, maintain refill request forms, and triage medication-related problems to pharmacists as needed. Pharmacists will resolve therapy-related issues and may provide clinical pharmacy services including Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and disease management to patients.

Fry’s Food Stores will be led by pharmacists within their Pharmacist Care Center, a call center that services store locations across Arizona. Those pharmacists will perform the initial and monthly calls to the patient and provide medication reconciliation and patient consultation.  Pharmacists will perform interventions to improve adherence, resolve drug-related problems, as well as process refill requests.

Following the three-month patient enrollment period, the study period will take place over 12 months. Results should be available in early 2016.

About the American Pharmacists Association Foundation
The APhA Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., is a trusted source of research demonstrating how pharmacists can improve health care. The APhA Foundation’s mission is to improve people’s health through pharmacists’ patient care services. The APhA Foundation is affiliated with the American Pharmacists Association, the national professional society of pharmacists in the U.S. For more information, please visit the APhA Foundation website www.aphafoundation.org. Follow the APhA Foundation on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.