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Practice Transformation

CMM improves primary care work-life balance
A new study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine finds that primary care physicians believe comprehensive medication management has a positive effect on their work-life balance. Participating physicians were actively engaged in team-based care with pharmacists delivering CMM. They said CMM resulted in less mental exhaustion, more confidence in their treatment recommendations, enhanced professional learning, increased provider satisfaction, better access for patients, and greater achievement of quality measures. The research is funded by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, a GTMRx Institute funding board member, and references the work to define CMM (2012) by a task force of the Patient-Centered Primary, which was co-led by GTMRx Institute President Dr. Terry McInnis. (AJPJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine)

Overdose deaths down for first time since 1990
For the first time in nearly 30 years, drug overdose deaths were down last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While deaths from fentanyl, cocaine and stimulants is still high, lower overall rates were driven by fewer deaths from heroin and prescription pain killers. In a related story, the Veterans Administration integrates pharmacists into collaborative care models for opioid use disorder, a practice that improves access and retention to medically-assisted treatment programs. (Los Angeles Times; Pharmacy Times)

Evidence & Innovation

Deprescribing lowers costs, boosts quality of life
Deprescribing—the process of reducing or stopping medications that don’t benefit the patient—reduces medication use without causing harm. It is especially helpful in reducing adverse events for patients who are elderly and with multiple chronic conditions. For those at end of life who still take preventive medications, it reduces unnecessary costs and improves quality of life. Deprescribing is a challenging and time-consuming process for physicians, but the most common process parallels the comprehensive medication management process that can be conducted by a clinical pharmacist. (Journal of Clinical Pathways)

AI teams with precision medicine to help more patients
Precision medicine is changing lives for cancer patients, but only one in 10 of those patients has genes that are receptive to known treatments. That is changing as health systems like the City of Hope National Medical Center and the Veterans Health Administration ramp up genomic testing on tumors and the data base expands to develop more treatments. The volume of data requires artificial intelligence to make the data useful for researchers and health providers to match patients with cures. The marriage of genomics and medicine is producing a new world of collaborative research to pool genomic data and speed access to personalized treatments. (Drug Topics)

Policy Solutions

VA taps Harvard Med prof as first AI director
The Department of Veterans Affairs appointed a Harvard Medical School biomedical informatics professor to lead its artificial intelligence efforts last week. Gil Alterovitz, Ph.D., will leverage a genomic database with data from more than 750,000 veterans to conduct research aimed at applying precision medicine and other ways to improve health care for veterans. The VA already uses AI to reduce wait times for appointments and in its suicide prevention efforts. (ExecutiveGovVA Office of Research and Development)

“Living drugs” push boundaries and promise cures—at a cost
The developmental journey to “living drugs”—genetically modified viruses and microbes that attack disease—began with a set of twins in 1960. This New Yorker article traces the evolution of cellular therapy, which has proven a cure for leukemia and is now the focus of myriad personalized medicine trials—holding the promise of miraculous cures at extravagant cost. This salient question is asked by one researcher: “would you rather push the boundaries of a partially effective cellular therapy, acknowledging all its problems, yet also recognizing its clear responses? Or would you rather pay a million dollars for ineffective chemotherapies, only to pay again for cellular therapy?” (The New Yorker)

Coming soon: Focus On calls for members      

The GTMRx Institute is now more than 340 members strong! Our Work Groups are forming, education opportunities are growing and we’re raising awareness with key stakeholders. Stay tuned for more information about joining brief, weekly “Focus On” membership calls designed to keep you up to date on our activities.

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