Retailers with in-store pharmacies can serve as essential supports to patients in between visits with their primary care physician. But chronic and complex diseases require always-on monitoring and support—something retail pharmacies are not designed (or financially incentivized) to provide.

A large part of chronic disease management is keeping patients adherent to medications; this helps to control symptoms, improve patient quality of life and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. But the financial incentive for retail pharmacies to monitor anything beyond prescription refills has been absent until this year.

New remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) codes allow providers to be reimbursed for monitoring medication adherence between primary care visits. This activity is particularly appropriate for complex conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. RTM allows pharmacy revenue to be tied to patients taking their medication properly, instead of being based on refills.