Independent Pharmacies

SynMed Reviews

Locally-owned-and-operated pharmacies greatly benefit from the use of automation as they grow. Offering a more robust selection of medications than big box pharmacies, independent pharmacy environments are inherently more complex and require greater attention to detail when filling prescriptions. Once an independent pharmacy’s weekly fills reach a certain number, automation is the natural next step to allow for a higher-level of patient service and interaction.

Key Benefits of Automation for Independent Pharmacies

Adding automation to your independent pharmacy environment has many benefits, and our customers who adopt SynMed® technology in their pharmacy consistently observe the following:

Better patient service

Investing in SynMed® technology allows pharmacy staff to provide their best customer service to date. With our machines installed, pharmacy staff is able to dedicate more time to interfacing with patients. They will be able to provide a personalized, concierge-level service, leading to better patient outcomes, less patient turnover, and thereby increased revenue for your business.

Improved Agility

Small pharmacies must be agile to succeed. With medication changes, swap-outs, and special orders, the workflow of staff in these environments is easily impeded when doing all work by hand. With the addition of pharmacy automation, your staff’s ability to be agile improves significantly and quickly, without an increase in error rate.

Better Patient Adherence Rates

Patient medication adherence is critical to the success of any independent pharmacy and is at the heart of what we do. By electing to automate blister card production, pharmacies that invest in SynMed® technology increase efficiency, safety, and adherence rates amongst their patient base.

Medication Adherence Case Study

In June 2006, the FAME (Federal Study of Adherence to Medications in the Elderly) study results were released. The FAME study was a two year “multiphase, single-center study of the efficacy of a comprehensive pharmacy care program, which included patient education and an adherence aid (medications custom-packaged in blister packs) to improve medication adherence among military health care beneficiaries aged 65 years or older who were prescribed at least 4 chronic medications per day.” During the study, blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were tracked to determine the efficacy of pharmacotherapy in achieving optimal cardiovascular outcomes. The study clearly demonstrated that medication adherence is associated with positive health outcomes. The study’s abstract and description can be found below.

From JAMA Network:
Adherence to chronic pharmacological therapies is poor,1-3 leading to worsening disease severity and increased costs associated with higher hospital admission rates.4,5 Barriers to medication adherence are numerous, but include the prescription of complex medication regimens, treatment of asymptomatic conditions, and convenience factors.6 These factors are particularly prevalent among the elderly population, placing them at increased risk for medication nonadherence. Because approaches to improve adherence can be complex and labor intensive,7 there are no accepted, fully effective strategies in widespread clinical use. Moreover, in elderly patients, effective strategies to improve adherence have not been investigated, and an effect on meaningful health outcomes has not been identified.


Context Poor medication adherence diminishes the health benefits of pharmacotherapies. Elderly patients with coronary risk factors frequently require treatment with multiple medications, placing them at increased risk for nonadherence.

Objective To test the efficacy of a comprehensive pharmacy care program to improve medication adherence and its associated effects on blood pressure (BP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Design, Setting, and Patients A multiphase, prospective study with an observational phase and a randomized controlled trial conducted at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center of 200 community-based patients aged 65 years or older taking at least 4 chronic medications. The study was conducted from June 2004 to August 2006.

Intervention After a 2-month run-in phase (measurement of baseline adherence, BP, and LDL-C), patients entered a 6-month intervention phase (standardized medication education, regular follow-up by pharmacists, and medications dispensed in time-specific packs). Following the intervention phase, patients were randomized to continued pharmacy care vs usual care for an additional 6 months.

Main Outcome Measures Primary end point of the observation phase was change in the proportion of pills taken vs baseline; secondary endpoints were the associated changes in BP and LDL-C. Primary end point of the randomization phase was the between-group comparison of medication persistence.

Results A total of 200 elderly patients (77.1% men; mean [SD] age, 78 [8.3] years), taking a mean (SD) of 9 (3) chronic medications were enrolled. Coronary risk factors included drug-treated hypertension in 184 patients (91.5%) and drug-treated hyperlipidemia in 162 (80.6%). Mean (SD) baseline medication adherence was 61.2% (13.5%). After 6 months of intervention, medication adherence increased to 96.9% (5.2%; P<.001) and was associated with significant improvements in systolic BP (133.2 [14.9] to 129.9 [16.0] mm Hg; P = .02) and LDL-C (91.7 [26.1] to 86.8 [23.4] mg/dL; P = .001). Six months after randomization, the persistence of medication adherence decreased to 69.1% (16.4%) among those patients assigned to usual care, whereas it was sustained at 95.5% (7.7%) in pharmacy care (P<.001). This was associated with significant reductions in systolic BP in the pharmacy care group (−6.9 mm Hg; 95% CI, −10.7 to −3.1 mm Hg) vs the usual care group (−1.0 mm Hg; 95% CI, −5.9 to 3.9 mm Hg; P = .04), but no significant between-group differences in LDL-C levels or reductions.

Conclusions A pharmacy care program providing blister packs led to increases in medication adherence, medication persistence, and clinically meaningful reductions in BP, whereas discontinuation of the program was associated with decreased medication adherence and persistence.

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00393419

Trial Registration Published online November 13, 2006 (doi:10.1001/jama.296.21.joc60162).

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