Pharmacists are central health care professionals in medication therapy management and play a crucial role in improving life quality outcomes among patients.
More than 1.5 million preventable medication adverse events happen each year in the United States, accounting for a cost of $177 million due to mortalities and morbidities. Delivery of safe, patient-centered, and efficient care requires collaboration between patients and diverse care providers.
Pharmacists are central health care professionals in medication therapy management (MTM) and play a crucial role in improving life quality outcomes among patients by engaging in MTM and specialty pharmacy practices.
MTM represents a broad scope of health care services delivered by pharmacists as health care experts. The therapy focuses on improved collaboration between pharmacists, physicians, and diverse health care providers.
MTM enhances communication between patients and health care providers for the optimization of medication use. Pharmacists apply evidence-based guidelines and consult with physicians supporting appropriate decisions regarding their medication use.
Specialty pharmacy offers high-touch services surrounding drugs for complex conditions; thus, the pharmacist enters formal agreements with physicians that allow them to provide clinical support. Specialty pharmacists deliver services by addressing comprehensive patient needs and medication management after a physician’s diagnosis.
MTM fits into the specialty pharmacy since pharmacists offer comprehensive information to patients after consultation with multiple care providers. Therefore, pharmacists become part of the overall care delivery program, focusing on assessing and evaluating the patient’s complete medication regimen instead of an individual medication product.
Pushing the boundaries of patient care in modern medicine accounts for the increased use of specialty pharmacy services. By the end of 2020, brand, generic, and specialty products will have a total revenue of $483 billion, of which 44% of the revenue comes from specialty drugs. Therefore, specialty pharmacy requires innovative programs that meet the high number of patients and still maintain quality, safety, and efficiency in care delivery.
Pharmacotherapy consults, and pharmacogenomics applications portray crucial programs that will be deployed for appropriate integration of MTM into specialty pharmacy. Call center programs and centralized pay centers also reveal essential programs required in the implementation since specialty drugs may be costly and target specific complex conditions. These programs enhance communication and consultation among pharmacists, physicians, patients, and diverse care providers.
The information that specialty pharmacists obtain from the biomarkers revealing the severity of disease and relevant interventions will be the core factor for integrating MTM into practice. The information helps the specialty pharmacists to administer quality medication therapies that reduce severity rates alongside patient education that promote medication use. Pharmacogenetic applications, therefore, enhance the role of MTM among the specialty pharmacy field.
Electronic health records will be used in the delivery of MTM since they contain a wide range of patient information accessible to multiple health care providers. A cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software will be used in allowing a telehealth interface between patients, physicians, and specialty pharmacists. The software will facilitate the collection of patient-specific information, thus offering direction for the appropriate medications that should be administered to the patient.
The software will be designed to identify drug-related problems and develop solutions that engage the patient, caregivers, and prescribers in attaining the collaborative goals of specialty pharmacy and MTM. The CRM person-to-person interaction will allow discussion between patients, physicians, and the pharmacists. The interaction will improve the knowledge of the patient about diverse medications and their impact on the body based on the health condition under-diagnosis.
The patient can also raise any concerns for the care providers to address, thereby revealing evidence-based interventions. MTM, as an administrative aspect, will be provided through telehealth in the proposed program, thus enhance the quality of interaction between patients and care providers.
The cloud-based CRM software will act as the management tool since it allows quality interaction between patients and care providers. The broad scope of care through face-to-face interactions facilitated by health care also records the conversations acting as a referral for evaluation of the patient proceedings during MTM interventions. The cloud-based CRM software identified polypharmacy, sets appointments, and refills reminders, thus enhancing practice safety. The specialty pharmacists easily offer patient education alongside the support of physicians on the interface program thus reduce the likelihood of medication errors that would compromise life quality outcomes.
About the Author
Fonda Shu-Ayanji is a PharmD/MPH candidate at Shenandoah University Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, anticipated to graduate in Spring 2021.
Jonathan Ogurchak, PharmD, CSP, is the founder and CEO of STACK, a pharmacy compliance management software, and serves as preceptor for a virtual Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential Rotation for specialty pharmacy, during which this article was composed.