Health Groups Aim to Grow Pharmacists' Care Delivery

Three industry groups have collaborated to generate new approaches to care delivery through pharmacists that will lower medical costs and improve health outcomes.

Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Eshelman School of Pharmacy have collaborated to generate new approaches to care delivery through pharmacists that will lower medical costs and improve health outcomes.

“Pharmacists’ practices will change significantly in the next 3 to 5 years. We see tremendous potential in pharmacists becoming integral members of a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals focused on the overall needs of the patient,” said CCNC President and CEO L. Allen Dobson in a press release. “This approach is particularly helpful for complex patients taking numerous prescription medicines. Our research shows that pharmacists have frequent, face-to-face contact with patients, far more than even physicians.”

Initially, the 3 organizations plan to collaborate on several projects, including First in Health and Care TriageTM. The former project offers North Carolina-based GSK employees the choice of a primary care medical home, which includes a comprehensive medication therapy management (MTM) program provided by CCNC, while the latter project will involve all 3 organizations working to define the use of “small data” in pharmacies that could provide pharmacists with new tools and resources to deliver comprehensive MTM services efficiently to appropriate patients.

“Mounting evidence shows that improved use of medicines results in better health outcomes while also helping to control other health care costs,” stated Jack Bailey, senior vice president of Policy, Payers & Vaccines at GSK. “During a time when budgets are constrained and health care costs are rising, this work could yield promising results in helping contain costs. We are excited to begin testing new ways to improve patient engagement and hands-on care management that could help keep disease under control and patients out of the emergency room.”

Through their collaboration, the groups hope to complement the US health care system’s move away from volume-based care and toward valued-based, patient-focused care.

“There is a clear need to improve the effectiveness and safety of medication use if we are to significantly improve health care quality in the United States,” stated UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Dean Robert A. Blouin, PharmD. “This collaboration will allow the school’s faculty and researchers to play an integral role in helping to define and evaluate best practices and train pharmacists to effectively implement new models of care.”

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