Pharmacist interventions and patient adherence (


The most effective way to get patients to stick with their medication regimens all the way through their therapy, it turns out, is to give the job to community pharmacists. That means giving them time and adequate compensation to do what they do best: counsel and monitor patients, one-on-one.

Behind the common-sense conclusion that pharmacists can be the most effective resource for improving patients’ drug adherence rates is a new study from CVS Caremark.

Researchers from the company, working with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, concluded that the best way to boost adherence rates was through individual, one-on-one interventions with patients.

“Adherence interventions targeted to patients identified as nonadherent were more effective than broad interventions that cast a wide net to encompass all medication takers,” CVS reported on May 24.

Sarah Cutrona, a former research associate at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, went further about the superior effectiveness of targeted, face-to-face encounters with patients by health professionals (i.e., pharmacists) for keeping patients on the path to better outcomes through medication therapy. “Without the benefit of identifying patients and their specific barriers to adherence, [broad-based intervention programs] may be too general to motivate individual patients to change their medication taking behavior,” she said.

Researchers studied nearly 60 peer-reviewed articles on the effectiveness of various types of adherence programs for patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. What they found was that “dynamic interventions [32%] and focused interventions [25%] were more likely to show impact on adherence as compared to broad interventions [18%],” according to CVS Caremark.

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