Purdue University Graduate School
2022.12.9 PrajaktaW_Medsync (1).pdf (1.76 MB)

Exploration of Medication Synchronization Impact, Medicare Beneficiaries Enrollment and their Health Outcomes

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posted on 2022-12-09, 11:39 authored by Prajakta H WaghmarePrajakta H Waghmare


OBJECTIVES: Medication synchronization (med-sync) aligns patients’ chronic medications to a predetermined routine pickup date at a community pharmacy. An appointment-based model (ABM) med-sync service includes a comprehensive medication review at the pharmacy. We had the following objectives: (1) To systematically characterize literature describing healthcare utilization, cost clinical, and humanistic outcomes for patients enrolled in medication synchronization, (2) to determine the characteristics of Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ receipt of medication synchronization program and (3) to compare healthcare utilization outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in an ABM med-sync program to beneficiaries not enrolled in such a program.

METHODS: A systematic literature review was conducted using electronic databases from January 2008 to October 2022. The retrospective cohort study analyzed Medicare claims data from 2014-16 for a sample of 1 million beneficiaries utilizing community pharmacies identified as offering a med-sync program. Medicare inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and pharmacy claims data were used to create med-sync and non-med-sync cohorts. We applied Andersen’s Health Services Utilization model to determine factors associated with med-sync enrollment. We constructed logistic regression models with med-sync enrollment as the dependent variable adding predisposing, enabling, and need variables. Descriptive statistics and bi-variate analysis were performed on the cohorts. All patients were followed longitudinally for 12 months before and after a 2015 index/enrollment month to calculate healthcare utilization. Difference-in-differences (DID) was used to compare mean changes in utilization outcomes between cohorts before and after enrollment.

RESULTS: Through systematic review, we found limited studies related to costs and healthcare utilization. Med-sync programs have shown to increase drug adherence to medications and improve patient satisfaction. For our study with Medicare beneficiaries, we identified 13,193 beneficiaries in the med-sync cohort and 156,987 beneficiaries in non-med sync (control) cohort. As age of beneficiaries increased, likelihood of med-sync enrollment increased (AOR=1.003, 95% CI:1.001-1.005). There were ​higher odds of enrollment for beneficiaries residing in Northeast (AOR=1.094, 95% CI:1.018-1.175), South (AOR=1.109, 95% CI:1.035-1.188), and West (AOR=1.113, 95% CI:1.020-1.215) than the Midwest. Beneficiaries residing in non-metro areas had lower odds of enrollment​ (AOR: 0.914, 95% CI: 0.863-0.969) than metro areas. Beneficiaries with less previous inpatient hospitalizations (AOR=0.945, 95% CI:0.914-0.977) were less likely to be enrolled whereas those with higher outpatient visits (AOR=1.003, 95% CI:1.001-1.004) were more likely to be enrolled. Beneficiaries taking a higher number of oral chronic medications (AOR=1.005, 95% CI:1.002-1.008) had greater odds of enrollment in med-sync. After propensity matching, 13,193 beneficiaries in each cohort were used for analysis. Mean pharmacy utilizations increased before and after enrollment for both cohorts while mean outpatient utilization decreased before and after enrollment for med-sync cohort only. Healthcare utilization mean DID were significantly less in the med-sync cohort compared to the non-med-sync cohort for outpatient visits (DID: 0.01, p=0.0073) and pharmacy fills (DID: 0.01, p<0.0001). There was no significant DID for inpatient and emergency visits between cohorts.

CONCLUSION: Disparities in age, geographic region, type of residence and prior health utilization for med-sync enrollment were identified. Outpatient and pharmacy utilization changes were significantly lower in med-sync cohort compared to the non-med-sync cohort in the 12-months after enrollment. Lower pharmacy utilization could be due to optimization of therapy during medication reviews of ABM med-sync. As Medicare is approaching to a value-based system, there needs to be a greater focus on systems such as med-sync that has shown to improve a patient’s adherence. 


Community pharmacy foundation (Grant number: 170)


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Pharmacy Practice

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Alan Zillich

Additional Committee Member 2

Margie Snyder

Additional Committee Member 3

Noll Campbell

Additional Committee Member 4

Sujuan Gao

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