Consider a Career Move to Remote Medication Therapy Management

Pharmacy Times, November 2021, Volume 87, Issue 11
Pages: 72

Growth of telehealth means pharmacists can play an important role in patient care even when working from home.

COVID-19 drastically changed the pharmacy work environment, including an expansion of telehealth services that has opened new opportunities for pharmacists to work remotely.

There was a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the same period a year earlier, according to a CDC report.1

Telehealth is an effective way for pharmacists to provide services while enhancing patient care, evidence shows.2 One study evaluated the effect of a pharmacist telephone intervention on nonadherent patients with diabetes and hypertension who were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.3 The study results showed that the pharmacist telephone intervention resulted in significantly better medication refill adherence, which was measured by proportion of days covered during the 6 months following the phone consult.3 Additionally, there were lower discontinuation rates among patients with diabetes and hypertension.3 Pharmacists’ expertise with drug information can help patients in rural areas, as well as individuals who are unable to travel, and address necessary medication therapy management (MTM) services through telehealth.

FINDING OPPORTUNITIES

There are a variety of flexible, remote opportunities for pharmacists to perform MTM services from their home offices. Molina Healthcare provides health plans for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and it also offers insurance plans for patients through state health plan exchanges or marketplaces.4 The company offers remote MTM positions for pharmacists, and patients are eligible for services if they have 3 or more of the following conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, diabetes, dyslipidemia, heart failure, and hypertension.4,5 Additionally, they must take at least 8 medications and meet the minimum annual Part D spending criteria to be automatically enrolled in the Molina Healthcare MTM program.4 Pharmacists perform yearly comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs) via phone and develop a medication-related action plan and a personal medication record for each patient.4 Additional MTM services include drug monitoring, formulary management, patient education, and regimen review.4 Completion of the American Pharmacists Association’s MTM certificate training program is a preferred qualification for this position.4

Cardinal Health is a health care products and services company that serves approximately 90% of hospitals in the United States.4 Cardinal Health offers both full-time and part-time remote MTM career opportunities.6 Job responsibilities include delivering CMRs, patient-centered adherence monitoring, and targeted medication reviews (TMRs).4 Pharmacists also play an important role in managing medication costs through formulary and therapeutic interchanges and assessing for duplication of therapy.6 As part of an interdisciplinary team, pharmacists contact prescribers with interventions to ensure that medication therapy problems are resolved.6 Required qualifications for Cardinal Health MTM positions include the ability to become licensed in multiple states, if asked; the ability to work independently; a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy or a PharmD degree; the completion of an MTM course; a current license in the state(s) where the pharmacist is practicing; strong therapeutic skills; and technological competency.6

Aspen RxHealth can be accessed through a mobile phone or tablet platform that connects patients to pharmacists for MTM services.7 The platform also includes adherence programs, medication reconciliation, on-demand campaigns (eg, COVID-19 vaccinations and social determinants of health), and quality measure initiatives.7 Pharmacists can join the Aspen RxHealth community through its website to start the process.7 There is a one-time $75 membership fee once opportunities are found in the pharmacist’s area.7 Pharmacists set their own flexible schedules for MTM services through this platform.

Humana is a health plan that serves more than 13 million members in the United States and offers MTM services as part of the annual and quarterly benefits.4 Patients qualify if they have 3 of the 5 following conditions: asthma, diabetes, dyslipidemia, heart failure, and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, patients must take at least 8 prescription medications and meet the required annual CMS spending criteria.4 Pharmacists perform yearly CMRs and quarterly TMRs for patients as part of the MTM services, with a focus on medication education.4,8 Other responsibilities include clinical outreach programs, cost-saving initiatives, and formulary management.8 Additionally, pharmacists provide drug information support for nurses, physicians, and other health care professionals in the Humana network.4 Humana offers a variety of MTM remote positions, and required qualifications include an active pharmacist license, computer proficiency, and strong communication and organizational skills.8

Pharmacists interested in applying for remote positions should search the career section of company websites, because they are frequently updated. Pharmacists who do not see an opportunity listed on the company’s website should send an email to see whether there are part-time remote positions available.

Pharmacists also can set up a free LinkedIn profile and search for remote MTM positions in the jobs tab.

Networking is a great way to find a remote MTM position, because a colleague may provide information about an opportunity that is not yet posted.

Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, is a drug information pharmacist and Pharmacy Times® contributor who resides in South Florida.

REFERENCES

  1. Koonin LM, Hoots B, Tsang CA, et al. Trends in the use of telehealth during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic - United States, January-March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(43):1595-1599. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6943a3
  2. Elbeddini A, Yeats A. Pharmacist intervention amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: from direct patient care to telemedicine. J Pharm Policy Pract. 2020;13:23. doi:10.1186/s40545-020-00229-z
  3. Abughosh SM, Wang X, Serna O, et al. A pharmacist telephone intervention to identify adherence barriers and improve adherence among nonadherent patients with comorbid hypertension and diabetes in a Medicare Advantage Plan. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2016; 22(1):63-73. doi:10.18553/jmcp.2016.22.1.63
  4. Thomas DJ, Tran J, eds. The Medication Therapy Management Pharmacist Reference Book. 2018. The National Board of Medication Therapy Management.
  5. Molina Healthcare. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.molinahealthcare.com/
  6. MTM pharmacist. Cardinal Health. Accessed October 6, 2021. https:// jobs.cardinalhealth.com/ search/jobdetails/mtm-pharmacist--bilingual-spanish--english-fully-remote/ faf79f1a-c034-4137-bc2c-1e7cb79dd794
  7. An empowering opportunity built for pharmacists by pharmacists. Aspen RxHealth. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://aspenrx-health.com/for-pharmacists/
  8. Clinical programs pharmacist-work from home FL. Humana. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://careers.humana.com/ job/13207760/clinical-programs-pharmacist-work-from-home-fl-remote/