Ask About Adherence: Q&A on appointment-based medication synchronization

American Journal of Managed Care released a study on the impact of ABMS in pharmacies for patients on medications for diabetes, hypertension & hyperlipidemia.

Amey Sutkowski
Samantha DoughertyJanuary 27, 2017

Ask About Adherence: Q&A on appointment-based medication synchronization.


Ask About Adherence is a blog series featuring Q&A’s with experts and new medication adherence resources. In this post, we spoke with David A. Holdford, Ph.D., Professor, Director of International Programs, Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy in Richmond, Virginia.

Stay tuned for the next blog and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

SAMANTHA DOUGHERTY: What is appointment-based medication synchronization?

DAVID A. HOLDFORD: Poor medication adherence is a major cause of hospitalization and mortality in patients with chronic diseases like cardiovascular conditions and diabetes. Appointment-based medication synchronization (ABMS) simplifies medication regimens by having patients work with pharmacists to choose an appointment day to pick up all medications. Prior to their appointment, pharmacy staff call patients to identify any therapy changes and confirm that each prescription should be refilled. The pick-up appointment offers patients a dedicated time to engage with their pharmacist to discuss questions and concerns surrounding their medication therapy.

What’s the economic impact of ABMS?

HOLDFORD: The American Journal of Managed Care recently released a study modeling the economic impact of ABMS in community pharmacies for patients taking medications for diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The study, authored by researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, is the first to quantify the economic value of enrolling patients in ABMS programs.

The study calculated the overall disease-related health care savings attributed to improved adherence due to ABMS. The cost-benefit of ABMS compared with standard pharmacy dispensing showed medical savings ranging from $1.25 to almost $37 per additional dollar spent depending on the medication class. These results suggest that payer partnerships with pharmacies offering ABMS are economical and provide a positive return on investment. These economic benefits add to the growing body of literature on the improvements in adherence and patient satisfaction associated with the model.

DOUGHERTY: Do you think ABMS is effective?

HOLDFORD: These results demonstrate that ABMS is effective and economical, though it still has significant room to grow. Thus far, only 10 percent of independent pharmacies and 6 percent of stand-alone chain pharmacies have adopted appointment-based models. This and future research on the impact of ABMS may facilitate its widespread adoption.

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