Opportunities Grow for Health Professionals as Medical Home Expands: Reports
By Richard Scott
September 25, 2012
The slow but steady shift toward a more patient-centric healthcare environment is fully underway, and with it comes a change in responsibility for healthcare professionals across a range of settings, according to a series of new publications from a leading healthcare nonprofit.
Emerging models of healthcare delivery, such as the medical home and accountable care, are centered around the physician-patient relationship, but a good portion of their delivery goals are focused on improved care coordination – which intimately involves a closely knit healthcare team surrounding the physician (and patient).
“At the heart of this evolution is a new emphasis on an effective, enduring relationship between patients, their primary care providers and other practitioners on the healthcare team,” says the first report, “Medication Experts in Our Midst: Comprehensive Medication Management and the Changing Role of the Community Pharmacist,” published by accreditation and education body URAC.
Continues the report: “This changing environment offers an unprecedented opportunity for pharmacists to advance their roles as medication experts, patient educators and critical members of the care team.”
The report, featuring the insights of Dr. Terry McInnis, president of Blue Thorn Inc., cites the changing landscape of care delivery and suggests that pharmacists have a vital – and evolving – role in the thorny challenge of medication management and patient-centered solutions.
Recent statistics from the Annals of Internal Medicine paint a dire portrait of medication management in the U.S. today: nonadherence to prescribed regimens account for up to $289 billion in unnecessary spending and cost utilization annually, and as many as 125,000 deaths per year.
One of the report’s primary insights involves the role of “comprehensive medication management,” which is a standard of patient-centered care. The report includes 10 steps through which pharmacists can achieve comprehensive medication management.
Additionally, the report contains data about the benefits of a pharmacist-led medication management plan, citing figures from an initiative in Connecticut where pharmacists worked with patient in federally qualified health clinics. Through hands-on medication management techniques, the group of pharmacists saved more than $1,120 per patient over the course of a year on medication claims alone, in addition to more than $470 related to medical, hospital and emergency department expenses per patient per year.
URAC, which offers an accreditation program in pharmacy quality management, published the report in late September.
The Role of Care Managers
The second release from URAC focuses on the roles of tangential healthcare professionals in the burgeoning medical home model. Focusing specifically on the care management population, URAC announced plans for a live workshop that will take place on October 11 in San Francisco. The workshop, "Medical Home: High Performance Medical Home Teams Exploring Care Coordination and Transitions of Care in the Patient-Centered Health Care Home, Medical Neighborhood and ACO Models," is sponsored by the Commission for Case Manager Certification and will follow URAC's annual Quality Summit.
"Many patients with complex conditions need an advocate to help them navigate a host of medical providers, as well as to coordinate the financial, social and emotional challenges that come with the territory," said CCMC Chief Executive Officer Patrice Sminkey in a statement.
"Care coordination is the lynchpin that bridges gaps in care that typically occur during transitions," continued Sminkey. "Professional case managers are critical members of the team in new models of care, working to help close these gaps and work collaboratively to advocate, communicate and manage resources for higher quality, cost-effective care."
According to URAC, the workshop is designed to benefit all surrounding members of the primary care team as they wade into the depths of the medical home.
More information about the workshop is available here
. The issue brief on community pharmacy can be downloaded in PDF form here