Study tries to get at root cause of prescription abandonment

After implementing a simple workflow process, a chain of independent community pharmacies in North Carolina had more success in identifying and resolving barriers to medication adherence for patients, according to research published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Researchers laid out an established workflow process and conversation tool for pharmacists that addresses prescription abandonment.

The study took place at six Moose Pharmacy locations in North Carolina. During the 60-day study period, pharmacists used the workflow process to reach out to 73 patients to understand why they were not picking up their prescriptions. The results identified the following barriers to adherence: 32% forgotten, 18% cost barriers, 11% transportation issues, 4% refusal, and 16% other responses. About 19% of patients could not be reached.

After the process was completed, 56 patients (76.7%) received their medications.

Most literature to date hasn’t focused directly on the root cause for nonadherence among patients who do not pick up their prescriptions.

The workflow process at Moose Pharmacy locations involved all pharmacy staff who identified prescription abandonment and asked the patients about potential barriers to medication nonadherence.

“The results of this study noted reasons for prescription abandonment, which has helped Moose Pharmacy staff members be more proactive to eliminate potential barriers to a patient receiving their medication,” the study authors wrote. “One of the ways that we are able to decrease prescription abandonment is to be more proactive about enrolling patients into our medication synchronization program, as only 20.5% of patients identified were enrolled.”