Medication Therapy Management and Pharmacy Technology Trends
Medication Therapy Management (also commonly referred to as MTM) is defined by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is a very broad range of services that pharmacists provide to optimize a patient’s medication therapies by actively monitoring and “identifying, preventing and resolving medication related problems”.
MTM includes (but is not limited to) all of the following clinical services that are performed by pharmacists today:
– Medication reconciliation
– Drug usage and medication therapy reviews
– Participating in health and wellness programs
– Initiating, ordering and review of labratory tests
– Pharmacotherapy consulting
– Anticoagulant medication management
– Medication dosage adjustments
– Disease management support
– Medication safety surveillance
– Performing immunizations for patients
In short, pharmacists perform MTM to ensure that their patients get the very best results possible from their medications and drug therapies.
The requirement that every Medicare Part D sponsor must have a Medication Therapy Management program in place has been around for almost ten years now. Numerous states are also now requiring MTM services for their Medicaid patients, plus now several states have broadened this to include patients in institutional care. This has now become a focal point for all of the Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and for the Integrated Delivery Networks because it is now a payment metric for Medicare and for other payers. ACOs recognize that to meet their quality and cost targets, they must embrace and encourage HIT (Health Information Technology) by pharmacies. Technologies such as e-prescribing, mobile health apps, and electronic health records (EHRs) are now the norm rather than the exception.
Health Information Exchanges (HIEs)
As the future rapidly approaches, MTM will necessitate the use of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) to share information between healthcare providers and for pharmacists to communicate in “real time” with doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and all other members of the healthcare team.
A recent study by the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), which is actually part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, showed that the vast majority of all medical information is actually being stored on paper. In spite of this being the age where secure digital data transfer is readily available and should be the norm, most medical information is stored in filing cabinets at physician’s offices and medical clinics, or at home by the patients themselves. What medical records and information is shared between providers, is almost all through the use of the US mail or by faxing. Even worse, the study concluded, was the fact that the majority of patients simply carried their own medical records and information in “folders and boxes” from place to place (whether it was to a doctor’s office, lab, imaging center or physical therapy visit). The point was stressed that although HIEs will never take the place of provider to provider (or provider to patient) communication, the use of secure electronic “sharing” of information would tremendously improve a patient’s healthcare results. The completeness of the patient’s medical records, inclusive of their entire therapy history and all of their current medications (plus all ancillary information) would lead to each medical caregiver having access to the “total picture in real time” concluded the study. The conclusions also reached were that sharing the patient’s “total picture in real time” would result in avoiding drug errors and hospital re-admissions, a decrease in misdiagnoses and duplicate testing, and ultimately to a healthier patient. Isn’t that what each practitioner and every member of the healthcare team wants to happen?
Additionally, the money that could be saved by using HIEs is staggering. According to a report in the LA Times in May of 2017, there is a wasted $200 billion annually in the US for unnecessary medical testing alone. The article also pointed out that this unnecessary testing actually leads to numerous mistakes being made and ultimately causes more that 30,000 deaths each year.
An Example of Opportunity for Pharmacies
As a result of the inevitable advancement of the MTM “phenomena”, the HIEs will grow exponentially and will create numerous opportunities for every pharmacy business. Let’s take a moment and consider an independent community pharmacy operation as an example. If the pharmacy had HIE access, then they could provide MTM services to their patients and thus participate in an ACO like arrangement. Instead of the current routine of just checking a box to denote that MTM was performed, they actually could contract to be measured and incentivized based upon cost and quality metrics achieved across certain patient populations. These would include patients with high blood pressure and hypertension, diabetics and patient’s with high cholesterol.
Experts in Pharmacy Technology
Understanding the new and rapidly changing technologies as they relate to pharmacy can be a challenge to many pharmacy owners and clinicians. Healthcare Consultants has an in-house team of both consultant pharmacists and technology experts. Our staff keeps up with all the latest technological advancements that affect pharmacy and the entire healthcare environment. From major hospitals and healthcare systems to individual community pharmacies, HCC has been the nationally renowned pharmacy consultant firm of choice when it comes to questions regarding technology.
With over 28 years in the Pharmacy Consulting business, HCC can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice. We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you and your business. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all Pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.