female patient picking up prescription from pharmacy

Peer-Reviewed Study Shows Pharmacy Program is Associated With Higher Patient Retention and Better Health Outcomes

A study reveals that Cordant’s managed medication-assisted treatment pharmacy program is having a significant impact on patients with opioid use disorder.​

DENVER, February 2, 2021 (Newswire.com) —Cordant Health Solutions®, a national leader in providing innovative tools for providers and patients in addiction treatment programs, in a recently published study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, demonstrates that patients using Cordant’s managed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) pharmacy program had a 52% higher retention in treatment, 46% fewer opiate-positive lab tests and 41% fewer drug-related emergency department visits than those who previously received their buprenorphine from traditional retail pharmacies. Also noted in the study, 100% of the respondents reported they would recommend Cordant’s pharmacy program.

The study examined data from patients within their first 90 days of treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) at Northwest Integrated Health (NWIH) in Tacoma, Washington, before and after implementation of Cordant’s pharmacy program. The objective of this study was to determine if there was a difference in treatment retention, medication adherence, return to illicit drug use, and health outcomes for 154 patients who used Cordant’s pharmacy program compared with a randomly selected, equally sized subset of patients who did not.

“Historically, the concept of access to treatment for OUD primarily focused on a patient’s access to a provider who can treat and prescribe without considering obstacles to receiving the medication itself from retail pharmacies,” said Dr. Asif Khan, CEO and chairman of NWIH and co-author of the study. “Barriers like transportation can be challenging for this patient group, so to ask them to go to another location after their clinic visit adds an additional hurdle they have to overcome. Then they need to find a pharmacy that regularly stocks addiction treatment medication and doesn’t treat them like a drug addict. Unfortunately, this poses a real threat to their sobriety, and that’s why I believe these study outcomes are so meaningful.”

Despite the strong evidence for the efficacy of medications like buprenorphine for OUD in reducing mortality, retaining patients in care can be challenging, with many patients discontinuing treatment prematurely, sometimes within a few days or weeks after initiation. However, the study findings show that using Cordant’s pharmacy program may significantly improve patient retention in treatment as well as medication adherence.

“It’s easy to see the difference Cordant’s pharmacy program has on your patients when you experience it firsthand,” said Khan. “But to put it through a test, as we did with this study, and to see numbers like 52% higher retention in treatment and 41% fewer drug-related emergency department visits during a very vulnerable stage of treatment, the first 90 days, means we are saving lives, just by removing a big barrier—the barrier to receiving medication in a stigma-free and convenient way.” 

Key features of Cordant’s program include:

  • Pharmacists experienced in caring for patients with OUD
  • Cordant pharmacy delivers OUD medications on-site and can serve as a liaison between a partner clinic, patients, and the pharmacy
  • State prescription drug monitoring program review by the pharmacist on each patient, raising any irregularities before filling the medication
  • For clients using Cordant’s integrated program, a review of drug testing results, ensuring medication for OUD is present and identifying any unexpected substances
  • All patients offered life-saving naloxone

The study also included a patient experience survey to provide critical insights into how removing the need to find pharmacies to fill buprenorphine prescriptions directly impacted participating patients. The study highlighted some patients’ experience in Cordant’s pharmacy program. Below are a couple of quotes from the study:

“I love the privacy of it. Not having a long line of people hearing or judging.”

“I like how quick and easy it is. At times there is a long wait to see the doctor, so by the end of my appointment, I am just ready to leave. My meds are already here and ready for me to sign and go.”

To date, over 8,000 patients across nine states have participated in Cordant’s managed MAT pharmacy program, with continued national expansion. Cordant plans to open seven more pharmacies by the end of 2021.

“This study provides further validation of the impact Cordant’s pharmacy program has on patient lives and serves as important information for clinicians and treatment organizations when evaluating how to improve patient care,” said Sue Sommer, CEO and president of Cordant. “Being able to show a meaningful decrease in both drug-related emergency department utilization and opiate use with our program means patients are more adherent to their treatment plan, and with improved adherence comes decreased risk for relapse and reduced cost of care.”

About Cordant Health Solutions®

Cordant Health Solutions® (cordantsolutions.com) provides innovative tools for monitoring behavioral health, chronic pain and criminal justice cases. Cordant’s unique pharmacy and drug testing programs provide accurate, actionable results to protect prescribers, hold patients accountable and optimize quality of life.

A leader in quality standards, Cordant provides solutions for payers, clinicians and organizations involved with substance use disorder, pain management and criminal justice agencies. Cordant is one of the only healthcare companies that offers monitoring and risk assessment tools through its innovative drug testing options and full-service, high-touch pharmacies, which specialize in the management and dispensing of addiction treatment medications. Cordant’s testing protocols and digital case-management tools help clients become more efficient and effective in using drug testing programs to monitor patient adherence, reduce risk and improve patient outcomes.