A Synchronized Prescription Refill Program Improved Medication Adherence
Author: Jalpa A. Doshi, Raymond Lim, Pengxiang Li, Peinie P. Young, Victor F. Lawnicki, Joseph J. State, Andrea B. Troxel, Kevin G. Volpp
Synchronizing medication refills—renewing all medications at the same time from the same pharmacy—is an increasingly popular strategy to improve adherence to medication regimens, but there has been little research regarding its effectiveness. In light of increasing policy interest, we evaluated the impact of a pilot refill synchronization program implemented by a large national insurer. A random sample of Medicare Advantage patients receiving mail-order refills for common maintenance medications (antihypertensive, lipid-lowering, or antidiabetic agents) were invited to join the program and followed for twelve months. On average, the absolute increase in the proportion of patients deemed adherent during follow-up was 3–10 percentage points for the intervention group, compared to 1–5 percentage points for the control group. Patients with poorer baseline adherence showed larger increases in the absolute proportion deemed adherent in intervention (23–26 percentage points) compared to a control group (13–15 percentage points). Synchronizing refills might be a promising intervention to improve adherence to maintenance medications, especially among Medicare patients with low baseline adherence.