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Practice Transformation

Oncologists participating in value-based care models say drug costs are a top challenge, causing them to think differently about medication choices. In a recent survey, 30 percent said they were incorporating precision medicine in the practice, and 94 percent said they thought precision medicine would make it faster to identify novel therapies. (AJMC)
Patients who are prescribed specialty medications in the ambulatory setting often have to jump through hoops to get their prescriptions filled and paid for in a timely fashion. The health system specialty pharmacy is one solution, offering care management, financial assistance and a single point of contact for followup. In this model, a common electronic health records system also ensures every member of the care team is kept up to date. (Specialty Pharmacy Times)

Evidence & Innovation

One reason medications don’t always work is because patients forget to take them. The costs of skipped doses can add up to billions of dollars annually, says researcher Jonathan Watanabe of UC San Diego’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and Leah Zullig of Duke University School of Medicine. Sensors in the pills can link to smart phone apps and even skin patches to help patients track whether they remembered to take medications as prescribed. The innovations aren’t scalable yet, but tech companies have tested the sensors in more than 1,000 patients. (Forbes)
In the digital age, nothing stands between a New York-based health system and a German research institute collaborating to advance health. Two leaders in all-things-high-tech-medicine launched the new Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Health at Mount Sinai with a $15 million gift from the Hasso Plattner Foundation this week. The collaboration will enable new research and clinical testing in genome diagnostics, precision medicine, digital health and artificial intelligence. (Healthcare IT News)

Policy Solutions

Minorities are underrepresented in genetic research, creating disparities in who benefits most from precision medicine treatments. As more diseases are found to be linked to genetic variants, researchers are able to uncover new treatments for chronic illnesses such as asthma and heart disease. The National Institutes of Health’s “All of Us” research program is collecting genetic information from a broad base of Americans to enable more racially inclusive research in precision medicine. (opinion piece from the Daily CampusNational Institutes of Health)
The Food and Drug Administration has approved three gene therapies within the past year—practically a breakneck speed in the context of new rules to accelerate approval. More importantly, the agency has developed guidance for companies developing new therapies. This is new ground, and regulators are actively engaging with manufacturers to rapidly bring promising therapies to market. Without old-school clinical trials and longitudinal studies to back up efficacy claims, manufacturers must engage patients, too, so they’ll agree to long-term followup monitoring under the FDA’s fast track model. (Applied Clinical Trials)
This 3-minute video from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy illustrates why we must enable comprehensive medication management in our health system—today. Watch and share and become a part of the movement to get the medications right as a GTMRx Institute Signing Member (free).
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