Should I Offer This Service to My Patients?

Pharmacy TimesJuly 2012 Digestive Health
Volume 78
Issue 7

Providing MTM services can be both rewarding and profitable.


Providing MTM services can be both rewarding and profitable.

In today’s pharmacy practice, there are more financial pressures and focus on profitability. Whether it be the economy, decreased margins, brand name products becoming generic, or a variety of other challenges, how are you turning those challenges into opportunities? One great opportunity is adding medication therapy management (MTM) services to your business portfolio. MTM is becoming more and more popular— and if you don’t get into the game now, it might be too late.

One of my college pharmacy professors, Dr. Peter Previte, explained to me that pharmacists need to be more entrepreneurial. When he started out in pharmacy, pharmacists were presented with the opportunity to add a new line of services to their portfolio. This was quite a few years ago, but the message still rings clear today.

Back then, pharmacists were presented with the opportunity of adding hearing aid services to their pharmacy practices. However, the pharmacists at the time decided that this was not in their area of expertise, so they passed. Hearing aid services have been a fairly lucrative business model with franchises, and some of my non-pharmacist colleagues have been very successful. Likewise, MTM could be the next profitable opportunity for your business.

The FDA and biotech pharmaceutical manufacturers mandate clinical programs such as MTM and Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). These new clinical programs can provide you with an opportunity to get access to products that you may not have had before when these mandates were not in place.

In Ohio, for example, there is new legislation requiring managed care organizations to have MTM programs in place for their patient populations. If you are part of the solution for the managed care organizations, it could be an opportunity for you to be one of their providing pharmacies, and could create additional sources of revenue for your pharmacy.

One of the realities that is also a positive factor in MTM services is the fact that new graduates are being trained and educated on MTM program management. So, you have qualified and trained personnel who can help manage your MTM programs and services. Not being an expert was a fear back when pharmacists were presented with adding hearing aid services to their business model. This fear is not a reality with MTM. Getting into MTM programs and services is not an opportunity that pharmacists should be passing up if they want to help keep their profession alive.

The benefits to your business profitability of adding MTM services are numerous. Not only will you be building stronger relationships with your patients, you will also improve outcomes. By improving outcomes, you can compete for contracts if you have the right foundation built for MTM management. You can also be paid if you can report key data elements.

If you have a system to help track the key data elements, it makes this solution less complicated and automated. If you have to do this manually, it can be done but it is labor intensive.

When I managed my first MTM program, I managed the data elements we tracked on an Excel spreadsheet. However, now there are better solutions available to help automate the tracking of data. There are even successful proven clinical protocol solutions to help manage disease states such as diabetes, cholesterol, pain, and several others. This will require some investment up front; however, the return on investment can be short with the right MTM strategy.

How long have pharmacists been doing MTM and just not getting paid? Answer: A long time! It’s time for us to seize this opportunity as a profession and as business owners to keep our profession alive and strong. If pharmacists seize opportunities such as MTM, we can find the solutions that will continue to improve patient outcomes while doing what we do best—helping patients understand and take their medication the correct way.

Pharmacists can create win-win solutions for their patients and health care if we don’t let ourselves get in the way. I would highly recommend you do some serious thinking about the question, “Should I offer MTM services to my patients?”

Quintin Jessee, PharmD, is director of specialty pharmacy consulting for D2 Pharma Consulting LLC and has more than 10 years of senior management experience in specialty pharmacy operations.

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