The Places You’ll Go: Enhance Your Pharmacy’s Specialty with Medicine-On-Time
That’s all the time it took for pharmacy owners Erik P. Johnson and Richard K. Ploude of Anawan Pharmacy in Rehoboth, Massachusetts to conceptualize, build-out and officially open the doors to Anawan on September 1, 2016.
Erik and Rich have known each other for a number of years and met through a mutual friend. They both pursued the pharmaceutical industry for different reasons: Erik was a pharmacy clerk in high school and his father was a doctor, exposing him to the importance of medicine in one’s well-being. Rich became interested in the industry due to his younger brother who needed various prescriptions as a child.
Preventing Non-Adherence Related Readmission Rates
Once Erik and Rich decided to open a pharmacy, they needed an efficient and effective medication adherence, management and compliance solution. They turned to Medicine-On-Time.
Anawan specializes in partnering with facilities to prevent patient non-adherence related readmission rates after discharge. Anawan alleviates non-adherence related readmission rates by packaging the discharged patient’s medications in Medicine-On-Time.
Pharmacies and facilities gain confidence with the Medicine-On-Time solution because they know patients will take their medications as prescribed during the first 30 days of discharge. This helps improve health conditions, reduces admissions rates and increases a facility’s or pharmacy’s Medicare Star Ratings.
Erik and Rich discussed more great insights with us in this question-and-answer-style pharmacy profile. Keep reading!
What was the deciding factor for bringing Medicine-On-Time into your business?
Erik: We were looking for a differentiator that would set us apart from “big box” stores.
Rich: Both Erik and I have experience in nursing home pharmacies. Medicine-On-Time is a way to keep an elderly person independent for a little longer before seeking nursing home care. If medication is the big thing that a loved one is looking at and saying “I just can’t handle their meds any longer, they need to be in full-time nursing care,” Medicine-On-Time allows them to stave off putting them into full-time nursing for a little longer– if it’s really just the meds that are the problem.
We offer home delivery as one of our services, and are able to deliver Medicine-On-Time. We have a customer whose father who is on multiple medications and her mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was very confusing for them to manage their own medication. She’d have to go over medications every other week to try and setup a pill box. Using Medicine-On-Time, we take care of it [medication management] for her and it’s managed on our [Anawan’s] end. They are very pleased with the service.
Note: Pharmacists expertly prepare oral, prescription medications into Medicine-On-Time. There is no extra work for the patient to have their medications packaged into Medicine-On-Time.
Medicine-On-Time: Complementing a Specialty
What’s your pharmacy’s focus? Retail, long-term care, facilities?
Erik: Anawan partners with facilities so that when patients are discharged, or if they were on a short-term rehab visit and they are going home, they can go home on the Medicine-On-Time system. It also helps the nursing facilities with medication compliance after the patient leaves so they don’t end up back in the hospital.
Rich: With Medicine-On-Time, facilities don’t have to worry as much [as they normally would] about their bounce back Star Ratings from Medicare. One of these ratings measures if a patient is readmitted into the hospital or nursing home within a certain number of days from the discharge date. If bounce backs [non-adherence related readmission rates] happen, this affects the facility’s Star Ratings through the Medicare system. We [Anawan] tell them that if they send their patients home on the Medicine-On-Time system, you’ll know patients will be taking their medications the way the compliance system is setup during those 30 days, and this will help with your Star Ratings in the long run. That’s kind of the angle we’re gearing toward facilities, saying it’s a good idea to discharge patients on this program.
Note: Medicine-On-Time’s study, the Impact of a Medication Management System on Nursing Home Admission Rate in a Community-Dwelling Nursing Home–Eligible Medicaid Population” published in The American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy in February 2011, proves how incorporating our packaging into managing medication adherence significantly prolongs patients’ independence, reduces nursing home admission rates by 66% and increases Medicare Star Ratings.
How long have you been using the Medicine-On-Time solution?
Erik: The first [Medicine-On-Time] patient came onboard in early October 2016.
How does your staff feel about Medicine-On-Time? Do you see efficiency within your overall workflow?
Rich: The staff are Erik and I! But I primarily use the solution.
I’ve worked with Medicine-On-Time since its implementation in October 2016, and have quickly developed efficiency with the solution. I learned more about Medicine-On-Time from Nina Zingariello [the Regional Account Manager for Medicine-On-Time customers in the New England and Northwestern regions of the United States]. She demonstrated how to use Medicine-On-Time and provided helpful feedback and workflow efficiency advice.
Rich proceeded to tell us about his workflow efficiency method and how he maintains organization when filling Medicine-On-Time calendar cards:
For accuracy, Rich prefers to fill the calendar cards, or blister packs, in the order pills are listed on the label itself. He uses the filler tray and plastic tray inserts for different pill sizes (A, B, C, D, etc.) to fill batches of calendar cards. Rich says how filling calendar cards in the order pills are listed on the label saves time in the checking process. This way, Rich knows he accurately completed the filling process in a methodical manner.
Getting Out There: Marketing Medicine-On-Time
What type of patients are using the Medicine-On-Time solution?
Erik: We’re marketing Medicine-On-Time from a perspective other than [patients] wanting to maintain independence later on in life. We [Anawan] have a patient that is learning how to become more independent early in life. She is a pre-teen, and her mother has several young children. The mother wants her daughter to be able to understand how she has to take her medications everyday. She needs to be on medications for the rest of her life, and she wants her daughter to have a solution to better monitor her medication regimen, along with an approach toward independence and taking her medications on a daily basis.
Note: Medicine-On-Time is great for youths to manage medications, such as when they go away to summer camps and need to have a daily routine for managing their vitamin and/or prescription intake. Medicine-On-Time gives everyone an additional level of confidence for managing multiple medications in an independent and concurrent manner.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?
Rich: Ideally, to make a profit and grow (laughs)! That would be phenomenal. Really, some of the goals we’re looking into is getting ready to launch a free vitamin program for children. The goal is to let people know that Anawan is in the area. We [Anawan] are going to partner with local elementary schools and send flyers home with children telling their parents that if they come into the pharmacy and provide their child’s name, address, and date of birth, they can go home with a free bottle of children’s vitamins. They can return to Anawan on a monthly basis to pick up a new supply of vitamins.
It’s a way to get our name out there as well as generate traffic. If people are walking in to get free vitamins, they will walk around the store and see what we have, and maybe check our pricing compared to where they’re going now. It’s a great way to give back to the community and get people to know that we are a pharmacy in town. No purchase is necessary, it’s just a “come in the door, give us your information and meet us” scenario. Erik and I are confident in ourselves that this [Anawan] will be a better pharmacy experience for you than what you are experiencing now.
Moving On: Growing and Learning from Mistakes
What advice would you offer to new pharmacy owners?
Rich: To have another owner to talk to, to find out what mistakes they’ve made or what they would do differently. We’re members of NPSC (Northeast Pharmacy Service Corporation), and they were very helpful in guiding us through some of the things we did not know regulatory wise and about insurance contracts. We [Rich and Erik] weren’t out there blind, but there’s a difference between having someone advise you on how to do something than talking to someone who actually did it, went through it, and find out what their experience was with different insurance contracts. Having another owner to bounce subjects off of, or to talk about what merchandise they carry, can help you make the right business decision.
How did you resolve mistakes?
Rich: Learn from mistakes, and hopefully they don’t cost you too much money in the long run. Just learn from them, move on and don’t make that mistake again.
That’s a wrap! From pharmacy business advice to how Medicine-On-Time is an asset for preventing patient non-adherence related readmission rates, increasing Medicare Star Ratings and maintaining patients’ independence, Erik and Rich candidly shared what makes their pharmacy successful.