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Practice Transformation

Doctors are increasingly using genetic testing to identify hereditary cancer risks so they can recommend treatments or preventive measures. However, many genetic findings are ambiguous. An inconclusive result—variant of uncertain significance (VUS)—may be a harmless variation in a gene—or one linked to cancer. From 20%-40% of patients learn they have a VUS after multiple-gene panel testing. Although expert consensus is to not make medical decisions based on a VUS, doctors who lack genetics training often fail to abide by that guidance. (Kaiser Health News)
UnitedHealth is cutting off reimbursement to diagnostic labs that don’t meet certain cost and quality criteria—something the American Hospital Association says could impair patient access. The insurer will also supply certain outpatient specialty drugs to hospitals rather than reimbursing hospitals—called “white bagging.” The AHA points out that many patients undergo testing shortly before their treatments to determine the precise dose. If the shipped medication differs from the dosage required, that patient may have to return another day to get treatment. (Modern Healthcare*)
Primary care physicians should play key role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, argues Shawn Martin, CEO of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He cites three key reasons: trust, which can help build confidence in the vaccine; the fact primary care practices are “proven, foundational” sources of care; and population health management expertise. “The process of identifying and prioritizing individuals for vaccination is achievable through a coordinated effort with primary care physicians who have insight into an individual’s health history.” (AAFP News blog)

Evidence & Innovation

Intermountain Healthcare recently announced a major pediatric DNA mapping effort. The HerediGene: Children’s Study involves the voluntary collection of 50,000 DNA samples from children and babies, as well as parents and siblings who wish to take part. The data will be used to help researchers at the Primary Children’s Center for Personalized Medicine and Intermountain Precision Genomics to better understand genetic diseases, according to the organization. (Gephardt Daily)
Medication optimization saves lives, but such efforts have largely been limited to certain patient populations, settings or conditions, write Marcia Buck, PharmD, and Shawn McFarland, PharmD. Comprehensive medication management (CMM) addresses this problem. CMM is a patient-centered approach to optimizing medication. The authors go on to explain the difference between CMM and medication therapy management—and why that distinction matters. The bottom line: CMM is patient focused, MTM is medication focused. (HealthIT Answers)

Policy Solutions

A bipartisan group of senators has again introduced legislation to improve patient record matching—this time, with a COVID twist. The Patient Matching Improvement Act would make the Postal Service’s address-formatting tool available to hospitals, testing laboratories and vaccination sites. Researchers estimate that this approach to improving the exchange of information among health IT systems could mean tens of thousands more matches. “This bipartisan bill provides a simple solution to help improve the vaccination process, bolster contact tracing efforts and more accurately track community spread, says Sen. Maggie Hassan, who is co-sponsoring it with Sen. Bill Cassidy. (FedScoop)
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In Case You Missed It!

The GTMRx Best Practices and Innovative Solutions (BPIS) Subgroup of the Practice and Care Delivery Transformation Workgroup is working on a comprehensive medication management (CMM) FAQ tool for physicians. The group is hosting physician focus groups to inform their work—which will be a part of a larger physician stakeholder package.
Please reach out to Izzy Serji, MPH, Operations Manager, GTMRx Institute (E: iserji@gtmr.org) if you or a physician you know is interested in helping on this initiative.
The AMA and ASHP (GTMRx founding funder) are committed to exploring the potential of pharmacogenomics-based selection, dosing and monitoring of medications to improve health outcomes. To further clinicians’ understanding of this emerging area of medicine, the AMA and ASHP are developing an informative series of virtually convened and facilitated webinars to evaluate the evidence base, identify and promote current best practices and guidance on the clinical application of pharmacogenomics and understand the health equity implications of adoption.
The webinars are free and will run February 17, February 24, March 2, March 11 and March 18. Register here.
The Get the Medications Right Institute (GTMRx) workgroups have developed a set of Tools from Our Experts to advocate for medication management reform. These tools are designed to be useful resources for all stakeholders, and we believe these will be vital to optimize medication use through CMM in practice. We encourage you to share them, post them and use them to advocate for medication management reform. Find these guidance documents here.
Employers as Health Plan Sponsors: Here is your call to action…
Employees with many chronic conditions, taking many medications and getting medications from many prescribers are at risk for non-optimized medication use. From an employer standpoint, learn how to encourage your health plan to utilize value-based contracts to gain team-based CMM services for a patient-centered approach to optimize medications safely and effectively. Learn more in this infographic.
Listen here.
Hosted by the GTMRx Institute’s executive director and co-founder, Katherine H. Capps, Voices of Change features leaders who have knowledge, experience and ideas to solve this urgent need to get the medications right. Did you miss the most recent episode? Liz Helms discuss the patient’s perspective in getting the medications right, saying, “[Patients] need to ask the questions. We need to understand why we’re taking that, and if we’re taking multiple medicines, then we need to understand if they all work together. And if they don’t all work together, then there should be conversations [on] what should we do to change that?”
Episodes feature:
  • Liz Helms, president and CEO of the California Chronic Care Coalition
  • Liz Fowler, JD, Ph.D., executive vice president for programs, The Commonwealth Fund
  • Amy Gutierrez, Pharm.D.,senior vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Kaiser Permanente
  • Amanda Brummel, PharmD, BCACP, vice president, Clinical Ambulatory Pharmacy Services, Fairview Pharmacy Services
  • Orsula V. Knowlton, PharmD, MBA, president and chief marketing & new business development officer, Tabula Rasa HealthCare
  • Anand Parekh, MD, chief medical advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Paul Grundy, MD, president, GTMRx; chief transformation officer, Innovaccer
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to smile.amazon.com and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
The GTMRx Institute is supported by our Founding Funders, Executive Members and Strategic Partners.
  See past issues of our weekly news brief here
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