Community Pharmacist Attitudes on Medication Synchronization Programs

  • Matthew Witry University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
  • Thao Hoang University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
Keywords: Adherence, pharmacist, medication synchronization, community pharmacy


Background: Medication synchronization is a service offered by an increasing number of community pharmacies that aligns refilling of a patient’s multiple medications. Purported benefits include increased adherence and improved dispensing efficiency.

Objective: To assess community pharmacist agreement with a set of declarative statements about medication synchronization programs and to identify variation related to pharmacist characteristics.

Methods: In 2015, a cross-sectional survey was mailed to 1,000 pharmacists from 5 Midwestern U.S. states using 4-contacts and an online option. Respondents used a 7-point Likert scale to agree or disagree with 5 statements about medication synchronization. Demographic and workplace characteristics were collected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and factor analysis. Multiple linear regression tested the relationship between pharmacist characteristics and a 4-item attitude composite.

Results: There were 258 usable responses for a response rate of 28.8%. About half (45.0%) reported their pharmacy offered medication synchronization. Most pharmacists (82.6%) agreed this service has a positive impact on patient adherence but 57% agreed that a “significant change to workflow” was or would be required. Pharmacist agreement that the program provides financial benefits to the pharmacy was higher than agreement that the service provides more opportunities for patient interactions (p<0.001). In the multiple regression analysis, having a PharmD and working at a pharmacy offering Medication Therapy Management were associated with more positive scores on the medication synchronization benefits composite whereas working in a staff role (rather than a manager/owner) was lower. No demographic predictors were significantly associated with agreeing that a significant change to workflow would be required for implementation.

Conclusions: Pharmacists generally were positive about medication synchronization programs, although some negative views were present, especially regarding the need for workflow change. Research is needed to understand barriers and facilitators to how medication synchronization programs are implemented and maintained and their effects on outcomes.

Conflict of Interest

We declare no conflicts of interest or financial interests that the authors or members of their immediate families have in any product or service discussed in the manuscript, including grants (pending or received), employment, gifts, stock holdings or options, honoraria, consultancies, expert testimony, patents and royalties.


Type: Original Research


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Received 2017-02-20
Published 2017-05-04
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research