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Practice Transformation

Patients who received focused attention from pharmacists during hospital stays were more satisfied, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Meeting. “Our findings add to growing literature demonstrating that pharmacist involvement in hospital discharge improves outcomes and safety,” Katherine L. March, PharmD, BCPS, of Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, said in a prepared statement. “Pharmacists play a multitude of vital roles for patients during a hospital stay, including comprehensive medication management and ensuring medication safety.” (PatientEngagementHITannouncement)
CVS’ new Transform Oncology Care program is intended to boost access to genetic testing for people with advanced cancers. It’s partnering with precision medicine company Tempus to make it easier for oncologists to offer advanced genomic tests to patients. These broad panel tests identify more individual variations in cancer that allow docs to pinpoint the best treatment option. (HIT Consultantannouncement)

Evidence & Innovation

Amazon is teaming up with Novartis to help the company forecast and track production, detect potential bottlenecks and monitor its operations in real time. In addition, Cerner recently announced it will rely on Amazon’s artificial intelligence and machine-learning expertise to develop programs that can predict medical diagnoses or recommend treatment. (ITPro Today)
McKesson recently identified five health system pharmacy trends for 2020. Among them: expanding specialty pharmacy. Hospitals and health systems experienced nearly 20% growth in the specialty drug market in 2018, and they are continuing to establish their own specialty pharmacies or expand their existing capabilities. This is good for quality and continuity of care initiatives, according to McKesson. They note that “administration of specialty drugs is challenging and highly complex given the number of new therapies and payer requirements. Speed to therapy and ongoing patient support are still critical.” (Insurance Net News)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will become the first health plan to integrate Amazon’s PillPack into its member app. The target demographic is members who are taking multiple medications. Those who choose to use PillPack’s services will be able to store their insurance and demographic information and medication lists, saving time when they need to order prescriptions, according to the insurer. (FierceHealthcareannouncement)

Policy Solutions

The FDA has authorized marketing of the GSP Neonatal Creatine Kinase-MM kit. It’s the first test to aid in newborn screening for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle deterioration and weakness. While the number and type of diseases and conditions tested on each state’s newborn screening panel can vary, there has been a national effort to harmonize screening practices across state newborn screening programs in the U.S. (FDA)
There will be no news brief next week on December 31, 2019.
Have a safe and happy holiday!

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