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Dose Administration Aids in the Pharmacy

With an ageing population, the service of Dose Administration Aids (DAAs) is becoming an increasingly important part of many pharmacies’ offerings.

The changes to professional services introduced in July have created a cap for the amount of DAA services that a pharmacy can claim in a month.1

This has led to many pharmacists asking if it is still a viable service to offer to patients, and I still believe that it is a resounding YES and there are three main reasons why.

1. Benefit to the Patient

The data around the benefits of DAAs is limited, and studies often look at specific conditions or use less than ideal methodologies to be considered gold standard.

Having said that, from the data available and from what I have seen in my pharmacy experience, DAAs have the ability to significantly improve treatment and quality of life for patients.2

The benefits to the customer stem from increased adherence and medication management and a decrease in adverse events from medication misadventure.2

DAAs also have the potential to help seniors stay in their own home longer through decreasing the burden of managing complex medication regimes of multiple medications, as well as multiple dosage times, which is often a factor when considering transitioning to an aged care facility.3

2. Benefit to the pharmacy

One of the major benefits to the pharmacy is the intrinsic reward of knowing that your daily work is significantly helping people better manage their medication and health conditions, that they may not otherwise be able to manage on their own.

There are the extrinsic rewards that the government is currently offering as part of the 6CPA which affords pharmacies an incentive to provide a medication packing service for patients in a community setting.

Although this incentive is capped, with each pharmacy given an individual cap based on their previous claims, this cap is only for the 2017/18 financial year which has been offset by an increase to a set payment of $6 per service.1

The DAA cap will be reassessed for the 2018/19 financial year.

DAA services have also shown to increase customer loyalty, which is becoming more difficult to acquire.

As patients who benefit from the DAA service are using multiple medications, it has the potential to increase script numbers.

There is also additional payment from the 6CPA for health data collection coming in early 2018 as an additional benefit to the pharmacy.1

3. Benefit to Society

With the ever increasing cost of health and hospitalisations, the use of Dose Administration Aids has the potential to reduce this cost through the decrease in hospitalisation due to medication misadventure.2,4

With 20 to 30% of hospital admissions in patients over 65 being medication related, decreasing the risk of this shows considerable savings to society through decreased hospitalisations.4

Additionally, with an ageing population, many people with elderly parents are worried about their parents’ medication due to the severity of the effects of mismanagement.

The use of a Dosage Administration Aid is an excellent way of alleviating that worry for patients’ families, and will help them focus on caring for their parents.

After determining that there is still a good reason to continue to offer this service to new patients, the next issue is how to market this service to patients.

From my experience, two of the most effective marketing tools are instore promotional material and conversations with your patients.

Instore Promotion

Instore promotions are an effective and inexpensive way of marketing your Dose Administration Aid service.

By displaying promotional material, patients are able to see that a DAA service is available to them and also helps to normalise the service through repeated viewing of the material.

This may also help customers initiate the conversation about a DAA when needed.

How to Bring up the Conversation with your Patients

Talking to a customer about a service like a Dose Administration Aid can be difficult at times but it shouldn’t have to be.

As pharmacists, we are the most accessible health care professionals, and part of this should mean that we have a comfortable enough relationship with our regular customers to bring up this topic of conversation.

Some simple ways to approach a patient are to:

  • Start the conversation with, “Did you know we offer a medication management service?”
  • Use your instore promotion to start conversations.
  • Use facts from your dispensary, such as the patient’s compliance and individual regime.
  • Talk about the benefits of the DAA.

The important thing is to tailor the conversation based on your customer’s personality and talk to them as in conversation rather than as a sales pitch.

Importantly, remember that you are offering this service rather than trying to force a Dose Administration Aid on the customer.

If the customer initially says no, they can sometimes come around in their own time to realise that they could use a service like this.

Dose Administration Aids won’t be of benefit to everyone, so when thinking about who may benefit from a DAA think about people who are on multiple medications with cognitive or physical impairments that may make it difficult to manage their medications, or those with literacy or language issues who may also benefit with medication management.1,2

As with any aspect of pharmacy, the DAA service must be patient-focused, so when talking to the patient, you should think about what they are feeling and what message they are going to receive.

Dimitri Costi, B.PharmSci M.Pharm. AACPA. GradCert.Bus. Dip.Mgt., Business Support Pharmacist, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch

1. Dose Administration Aid Program Rules. Australian Government; Health Department, Canberra; 2017
2. Elliot R. Appropriate use of Dose Administration Aids. Aust Prescr Surry Hills. 2018
3. Marek K. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Agency Healthc Res Qual Rockv USA. 2008
4. Roughhead L. Medication Safety in Australia. Aust Comm Saf Qual Healthc Darlinghurst. 2013

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