Timer caps track usage of medicationMore than 80 Thrifty White Pharmacy locations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Wisconsin rolled out a new tool this month to increase patient medication adherence.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
More than 80 Thrifty White Pharmacy locations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Wisconsin rolled out a new tool this month to increase patient medication adherence.
It’s called the Rx Timer Cap and it keeps track of the last time a patient opened the pill bottle and took his or her medication.
“Patience adherence is one of the top reasons for hospitalizations and we wanted to find out how we could get people to adhere more, and this was one of the best aides to use,” said Tanya Schmidt, central site operation manager for Thrifty White Drug.
Starting this month, medication customers enrolled in the Ready Refill or Medication Synchronization programs at Thrifty White Pharmacy locations receive a timer cap with the prescription. Other customers are able to purchase the timer cap for $1.99.
An LCD clock that works like a stop watch replaces the traditional cap telling patients exactly how long it’s been since their last dose. Each cap will last up to two years.
The timer is also automatic, so there’s nothing to program, no buttons to press and no instructions to read.
People don’t take their medications for a number of reasons but a 2005 Harris poll cited forgetfulness as the most common factor. Forgetfulness is especially common with medications for asymptomatic conditions.
“Patient adherence is recognized as the most significant cause of waste in our health care system,” Schmidt said.
An independent study took 10,000 patients with the cholesterol-lowering drug Niaspan and monitored patient adherence with medications over a 90-day period.
Between the control and the test group 57,279 more units were dispensed with the timer cap, a 33.9 percent increase in remembering to take the medication.
Schmidt said forgetfulness is a problem for patients of all ages.
“It helps people adhere if they forgot if they took it or not,” she said. “They’ll see how many hours ago they last opened their bottle and took it.”
At the Thrifty White Drug in Park Plaza Mall store manager Jim McCall said the new caps have been going over well with customers.
“It’s something new that we just came with and I think we’re one, if not the only pharmacies in the country using them right now,” McCall said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org