Amcal signs up to medAdvisor meds compliance system

Sigma Pharmaceuticals, owner of the Amcal and Guardian chains of pharmacies, has signed on to use the new MedAdvisor patient medications compliance program, joining Chemmart, PharmaSave and Terry White.

MedAdvisor is a digital platform including an iOS and Android app and a web app that provides patients with a list of prescription medications and allows them to order refills from their regular pharmacy. They can receive reminders on when to take medications as well as when they need to refill repeats or to contact their GP to get a new script written.

For pharmacies, it creates the ability to better communicate with regular patients taking multiple medications and more easily keep track of patients with chronic illnesses who leave their scripts at the pharmacy.

MedAdvisor has been developed in Australia by Irish pharmaceutical company Actavis, the new name for Watson Pharmaceuticals, which last year also acquired Warner Chilcott.

MedAdvisor has worked with the Pharmacy Guild on the product, and it requires that pharmacies use the GuildCare software platform, which integrates with most dispensing software.

MedAdvisor managing director Josh Swinnerton said the program has been available in pharmacies since October last year. It is being used as the technology behind a trial of home meds deliveries in Toowoomba.

Mr Swinnerton said many pharmacy groups have since begun actively supporting the program in store. With Sigma announcing this week that its 450 Amcal and Guardian pharmacies were formally endorsing the program, MedAdvisor estimates that 1500 pharmacies across Australia have now signed up.

“Many of the pharmacies that offer the program in store display promotional collateral to raise awareness of this leading-edge compliance program and encourage patients to sign up,” Mr Swinnerton said.

MedAdvisor's technology platform consists of a mobile app that can be used on an Apple or Android phone or device, or as a web app accessible from common browsers. Patients who don't have an internet connection can receive alerts through GuildCare’s SMS script reminder service MemoCare.

Features include a medication list detailing medication name, brand name, repeats left, days' supply left and colour indicators if action is required. Similar functionality is also available for non-prescription medications or vitamins.

It has a Fill-My-Scripts function that automatically reminds patients to fill repeats, and alerts them if they forget. It also automatically detects if scripts are filled as it is linked to the pharmacy system.

A See-My-Doctor function reminds patients to visit their GP for a new prescription after the final repeat is filled, with reminders sent several weeks prior to running out.

There is a Take-My-Meds timing alert on the mobile app, and a Tap-To-Refill function that sends a message to the pharmacy to dispense the medications in advance. Patients need to leave their scripts on file at the pharmacy to allow this.

It also has a 'Pharmacist Phil' avatar, full medications information and contact details for favourite participating pharmacies. Recently released is a caregiver mode, which allows carers to manage scripts on behalf of children or the aged.

Mr Swinnerton said that as a medications compliance platform, MedAdvisor is mainly aimed at patients with chronic conditions or who take regular medications, and it is generally the pharmacist who would recommend that a patient use the system.

Participating pharmacies would provide an activation code to the patient to set up an account, which is then linked to their prescription record in the pharmacy system.

“The activation code is used when the patient first creates their account on their mobile device or internet browser,” Mr Swinnerton said. “It links the patient’s new account to their prescription records in pharmacies and also sets the patient’s ‘favourite pharmacy’ to be the pharmacy that created the activation code.”

A medication-specific electronic medical record is also held on medAdvisor's servers, which are integrated with the pharmacist's dispensing software.

“MedAdvisor is notified of all dispense activity for patients that have activated and consented to medAdvisor, via the GuildCare software suite installed in the pharmacy,” he said. “GuildCare and hence MedAdvisor support all available Australian dispensing software systems.”

Pharmacies pay a monthly subscription per outlet, which also includes the MemoCare SMS script reminder service. MedAdvisor is offering a discount for the introductory period, costing $175 from this month until September inclusive.

“This price assumes the pharmacy already has the base GuildCare software installed, as over 3300 Australian pharmacies have,” he said. “Further fees will apply if the pharmacy has yet to subscribe to any version of GuildCare.”

In addition to helping patients comply with their full medicines regimen, the idea behind MedAdvisor is to reduce the financial cost of medication non-adherence, but also to keep patients in contact with their pharmacy.

Actavis sales director Adam Dubrich said MedAdvisor could deliver significant cost savings to the sector over time through improved compliance rates among patients.

“The program will help to improve medication adherence – saving the Australian health industry millions of dollars and significantly improving patient outcomes,” Mr Dubrich said.

“It also enables pharmacies to build stronger relationships with customers, which helps to drive customer loyalty.”

Posted in Allied Health

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