Evaluation of an outpatient pharmacy clinical services program on adherence and clinical outcomes among patients with diabetes and/or coronary artery disease

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2014 Oct;20(10):1036-45. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2014.20.10.1036.


Background: Poor medication adherence among patients with chronic diseases can result in complications and increased health care expenditures. An outpatient pharmacy clinical service (OPCS) program targeted nonadherent diabetes mellitus (DM) and/or coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and/or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) outside clinical goals. Pharmacists engaged identified patients with a face-to-face B-SMART consult, a consultation methodology to identify Barriers to medication adherence, work on Solutions to identified barriers, Motivate patients, recommend Adherence tools, reinforce the pharmacist-patient Relationship, and Triage if needed, to other services such as health education to improve outcomes.

Objectives: To (a) assess rates of medication adherence and clinical outcomes in the OPCS program compared with usual care in an integrated health care system and (b) estimate return-on-investment (ROI) from this intervention.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study used data from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California region to identify patients who received OPCS consultations and usual care patients from March 2009 through December 2010, with 1 year of follow-up from the initial consult (index date). Four patients from usual care were matched to each patient in the OPCS program and were assigned the same index date as the matching OPCS patient. Additional selection criteria were applied after matching. All patients were required to have a medication possession ratio (MPR) of less than 0.80 for their diabetes or dyslipidemia oral medications 1 year prior to the index date, indicating lower adherence to the prescribed therapy. Diabetic patients or dyslipidemic patients had to have a HbA1c or LDL-C lab result outside of clinical goals prior to the index date to be included in the study, respectively. Adherence outcomes as well as clinical outcomes were measured 12 months after the index date using chi-square tests for differences in percentages and t-tests for differences in means. The ROI was based on a cost-avoidance model that compared the cost of the OPCS program with the cost savings gained through reduced hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits. The diabetes and dyslipidemia cohorts were combined for the ROI analysis.

Results: Demographic and clinical characteristics at baseline were similar between the OPCS group (n = 1,480) and usual care group (n = 1,477). Among patients with diabetes, a higher percentage in the OPCS group than in the usual care group were adherent with their diabetes medications (53.5% vs. 37.4%, P = 0.001). There was no significant difference in average MPR between groups. However, patients in the OPCS group had a greater increase in mean MPR (0.19 vs. 0.15, P = 0.024); were less likely to discontinue taking their diabetes medications (11.7% vs. 35.5%, P = 0.001); and were more likely to have a timely first fill after the index date (34.8% vs. 12.9%, P = 0.001). The average number of days to the first fill after the index date was significantly shorter for the OPCS group (79.3 vs. 156.3, P = 0.001). Regarding clinical outcomes, patients with diabetes in the OPCS group had a lower mean HbA1c (8.48 vs. 8.80, P = 0.024) and a greater reduction in HbA1c (-1.25 vs. -0.75, P = 0.001) than in the usual care group. They were also less likely to have an ED visit (1.67% vs. 4.21%, P = 0.040), but there was no significant difference in the percentage of patients with a hospital admission. Among patients with dyslipidemia, the mean MPR was significantly lower for the OPCS group than the usual care group (0.70 vs. 0.74, P = 0.003). There were no significant differences in the percentage of adherent patients or the change in mean MPR from baseline. However, the OPCS group was significantly less likely to discontinue dyslipidemia medications (21.1% vs. 35.4%, P less than 0.001) and more likely to have a timely fill (28.3% vs. 15.1%, P less than 0.001). The average days to first fill after the index date was 106.9 for the OPCS group, compared with 162.6 for the usual care group (P less than 0.001). The OPCS group had a lower mean LDL-C (105.1 vs. 110.4, P = 0.001) and a greater reduction in LDL-C (-30.5 vs. -22.4, P = 0.001) than the usual care group. There were no significant differences in the percentage of patients with an ED visit or a hospital admission. In terms of ROI, assuming that 58% of hospitalizations and 8.5% of ED visits incurred in the usual care group were avoidable, approximately $5.79 could be saved for every dollar spent on the OPCS program.

Conclusion: By engaging nonadherent patients to restart their DM or lipid medications during a face-to-face consult, the OPCS pharmacist was able to influence and improve medication adherence and clinical outcomes, particularly among patients with diabetes. A positive ROI was demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • California
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy*
  • Cost Savings
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Services / economics
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists / economics
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Professional Role
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Hypolipidemic Agents