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Practice Transformation

According to a new Press Ganey survey, “virtual visits can achieve similar ratings for patient experience as in-person visits, with some specific differences in methods of care delivery.” The survey also indicates, however, opportunities to improve, including ease of scheduling appointments and contacting providers. In related news, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it will permanently cover virtual visits with in-network providers, effective immediately. This includes member-to-provider and provider-to-provider consultations. (HealthLeaders Media-survey; HealthLeaders Media-BCBS)
For primary care practices to thrive—or even survive—in the wake of the pandemic, they must be paid differently, said speakers in an Alliance for Health Policy webinar. Fee-for-service is neither “conducive or amenable to primary care being able to thrive and meet all of its opportunities and needs even in a normal day, and certainly not in a COVID day,” explained Asaf Bitton, MD, of Ariadne Labs. Sean Cavanaugh, MPH, of Aledade, expressed concern about employers and plans using telehealth vendors instead of local physicians. “We’d like to see telehealth supporting longitudinal, lasting primary care relationships, rather than disturbing them.” (Alliance for Health Policy webinarMedPage Today)

Evidence & Innovation

American College of Clinical Pharmacy (GTMRx board member) has developed a graphic that illustrates the processes by which medication optimization is achieved and its implementation, impact and dissemination. It characterizes medication optimization as the “synergy achieved by establishing optimal medication regimens and ensuring their optimal use.” Medication optimization is central to ACCP’s vision for pharmacists and the pharmacy profession. (ACCP graphic)
The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to deploy AI to help doctors in COVID-19 diagnosis. But some hospital systems have instead shelved their AI technology. Some AI experts warn that rolling out AI programs in the midst of a pandemic could be confusing to doctors and/or dangerous for patients. So, it’s just easier to use it in less risky areas such as hospital logistics. Still, some systems are using AI to predict sepsis and acute respiratory distress—and even predict heart damage in COVID-19 patients. (Kaiser Health News)

Policy Solutions

Pharmacists across the U.S. will be able to provide COVID-19 testing, according to new guidance from Health & Human Services. The guidance, issued last month, overrides state and local prohibitions. In other testing news, data published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine show that COVID-19 test accuracy varies widely over the course of the disease. On the day symptoms appear, the median false negative rate was 38%. Day three: 20%. Roughly two weeks out: 66%. (Drug TopicsAnnals of Internal Medicine)
The departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense joint health information exchange is now live. The joint HIE connects the two agencies to more than 2,000 hospitals, 8,000 pharmacies, 33,000 health clinics, 1,100 laboratories, 800 health centers and 300 nursing homes. “The recent COVID-19 pandemic underlines the importance for clinicians on the front lines to be able to quickly access a patient’s health record, regardless of where that patient previously received care,” Neil Evans, interim director of the Federal EHR Modernization program, said in a prepared statement. (EHR Intelligence)

In Case You Missed It!

GTMRx invited Michael Schuh, Pharm.D., MBA, FAPhA, ambulatory pharmacist, assistant professor of family and palliative medicine and assistant professor of pharmacy for the School of Health Sciences, College of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, to speak to the Pharmacogenomics (PGx) Payment and Policy Taskforce on May 26, 2020. Michael discussed Florida PGx legislation he has worked on, core policy barriers to PGx and the impact of the FDA on the path for providers of testing in regards to payment.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 | 1- 2 p.m. EDT
It makes sense that evaluation of a patient’s genotype can support the clinical decision-making process and target correct therapies, improving patient outcomes. This webinar will address barriers, incorporation of PGx into team-based care and how PGx aid in treatment decisions for COVID-19 patients.
Hear from a clinical pharmacist and a research consultant as they discuss findings from two separate research studies on pharmacogenomics. Colleen Keenan, a consultant with The Advisory Board’s Clinical Innovators Council, will share findings from her recent paper, “Considering pharmacogenomics during COVID-19? Here’s what you need to know.” And Emily J. Cicali, Pharm.D., BCPS, shares highlights from her recent publication, “Challenges and lessons learned from clinical pharmacogenetic implementation of multiple gene-drug pairs across ambulatory care settings.”
Remarks from the GTMRx / Bipartisan Policy Center Feb 6 keynote address by Gregory Downing, D.O.,(page 10-13) “Get the Medications Right: Innovations in Team-Based Care,” in the latest edition of the Personalized Medicine Coalition’s Personalized Medicine in Brief. Read it 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. The most recent episode features Orsula V. Knowlton, PharmD, MBA, president and chief marketing & new business development officer of Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Inc. Past guests include Anand Parekh, MD, chief medical advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center and GTMRx President Paul Grundy, MD, chief transformation officer, Innovaccer. Listen here.

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