A diabetes pilot – which ran from October 2016 to April 2017 – saw three pharmacists placed in Celesio’s new contact centre in Coventry, Lloydspharmacy's parent company explained.
A total of 225 patients with type 2 diabetes, who tend to have “really poor adherence”, were chosen, the pilot's design manager Laura Southall told C+D last month (June 21).
During the pilot, the contact centre pharmacists phoned patients for up to 45 minutes at a time and sent "motivational" texts designed to encourage adherence (see examples below).
"It wasn't just a reminder to take your medicine," Ms Southall said. Instead, the messages were designed to encourage "behaviour change" when it comes to diabetes management.
The regularity of calls and texts depended on whether the patient was deemed at high, medium or low risk of non-adherence, she added.
One conversation was not sufficient to improve adherence, Ms Southall stressed. "It had to be a follow-up in an ongoing effort over that period of six months to make a change."
The pharmacists received "extensive training in motivational interviewing", so that "they have strategies to be able to change patient behaviour", she said.
The programme received "such good engagement from the patients" because "the content was being personalised for them", Ms Southall said.
61% adherence boost
The 74 patients identified as having the worst adherence saw an improvement of 61%, while the 38 patients in the 'medium' risk group saw an improvement of 28%, Celesio UK reported.
The improvements in adherence would have a positive impact on patients’ glucose control and prevention of hypoglycaemic attacks, as well reducing pressures on A&E, she said.
The method “could be replicated” across community pharmacy, Ms Southall said, “as we move away from transactional to a more service-led focus”.
“It would require time from the pharmacist in the consultation room, but there's no reason why they couldn't do it," she added.