Kinney Drugs has seen a spike in the number of patients using its extensive roster of pharmacy services since the 92-store chain began promoting the offerings last month, executives say.

Kinney Drugs, Mike Duteau, pharmacy services, medication therapy management, automatic refills, immunizations, pharmacists, managing prescriptions, health care, ReadyScripts, prescription discount program, medication disposal, electronic prescribing, Richard Monks

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Pharmacy services in the spotlight at Kinney

November 8th, 2010

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. – Kinney Drugs has seen a spike in the number of patients using its extensive roster of pharmacy services since the 92-store chain began promoting the offerings last month, executives say.

While most of the services — including immunizations, medication therapy management, automatic refills, compliance programs and home delivery of prescriptions — have been part of Kinney’s operation for a few years, the recent effort marks the first time that the chain has positioned the services as a comprehensive offering.

“We looked at everything we were offering to our patients and, rather than just plow forward, we thought that putting more promotion behind it would benefit the patient,” director of pharmacy operations Mike Duteau says.

At the heart of Kinney’s promotion has been an effort to educate patients about the medicines they take and the importance of establishing relationships with pharmacists. Duteau notes that IMS Health data shows that in the United States, only 25% to 30% of new prescriptions are taken properly.

“Compliance is driven by access and affordability, and it’s easy to be noncompliant when people have to make purchasing decisions, they can’t get to the pharmacy or they are not fully informed about their medication,” Duteau points out. “Pharmacists can make it easier for people to understand their heath care and the value of taking medications as prescribed by their doctors. It’s important to know your medicine and your pharmacist.”

To spur compliance and make it easier for patients to develop one-on-one relationships with pharmacists, Kinney offers free or low-cost programs to educate the communities it serves about managing prescriptions and health care, and making them more affordable and accessible.

For instance, the chain offers free consultations that go beyond just ensuring that patients understand their prescriptions.

Duteau explains that Kinney pharmacists also help people better understand Medicare Part D and which insurance plan makes the most sense, based on their medication history.

Pharmacists can also provide free advice on which over-the-counter medications people should take, based on individual health issues and current medications, he says.

Kinney is also among the growing number of community pharmacies to offer flu immunizations and a prescription discount program, and it is one of the few chains to provide free home delivery of medications.

Every year Kinney holds periodic medication disposal days that let patients bring in unused or expired drugs, which are then disposed of in a safe, environmentally friendly manner.

Recently, Kinney began its ReadyScripts program that allows patients to automatically have prescriptions refilled before they run out of medication. Duteau says the program takes the burden off patients on maintenance drugs having to remember to refill their prescriptions, helping to increase the consistency of their care and drive up compliance rates.

Much of what Kinney is doing in its pharmacies is being driven by the chain’s use of sophisticated pharmacy technology. For instance, Duteau says, Kinney has embraced electronic prescribing, and more doctors are using the system. As a result, he notes, patients get their prescriptions faster, and the chance of medication errors has been nearly eliminated.