Research News

Univera gift to help patients take their meds

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published June 8, 2016

“This grant affords us the opportunity to start working on the disconnects and solving the problems that become natural barriers to people continuing on their medications.”
Scott Monte, clinical assistant professor
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

To help ensure patients take their medications as prescribed, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has received a $30,000 gift from Univera Healthcare.

The gift will support “A Collaboration to Improve Medication Adherence and Health Outcomes Among High-Priority Patients in Western New York,” a new pilot program that aims to evaluate novel community pharmacy-based solutions to overcome common barriers to medication non-adherence.

The three-year pilot, led by Scott Monte, clinical assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, will partner with Western New York-based Mobile Pharmacy Solutions, located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, to provide personalized adherence services for to up to 200 patients with Univera health insurance.

In addition to prescription delivery and home visits by pharmacists, the program will develop systems to refill, synchronize and package all of a patient’s medications each month.

“This grant affords us the opportunity to start working on the disconnects and solving the problems that become natural barriers to people continuing on their medications,” says Monte.

“If successful, we will have a model that helps patients improve their health, health plans meet important quality metrics and community pharmacies to be reimbursed for adherence interventions.”

Surveys show that up to 20 percent of people who receive a new prescription never take the medication. And half of those with chronic conditions stop taking their medications within six months, he adds.

The result is increased costs for hospitals and insurers as patients who don’t adhere to their prescriptions are admitted or readmitted to hospitals, Monte says.

By improving patient access to medication and pharmacists, the program hopes to increase medication adherence.

“Communication is key to getting the best outcomes for the patient,” says Richard Vienne, chief medical officer and vice president of Univera Healthcare.

Helping patients understand why a medication is being prescribed and the importance of continually taking it is key to any treatment protocol, he adds.

The study’s results will help pharmacists and health insurers learn which of these services are effective at increasing mediation adherence. The end goal, Monte says, is to find and validate beneficial services for patients that insurers are willing to cover.

Univera Healthcare’s gift is provided through its Community and Member Health Improvement grant program, which aims to improve the health of the Western New York community, in particular, underserved populations.