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What’s happening with telehealth?

Walmart’s decision to shutter its health clinics and virtual care services isn’t just a blow to retail health; it has profound implications for telehealth. And it’s happening at a critical time. Optum is shutting down its virtual care unit. Teladoc CEO Jason Gorevic is out, and the company’s stock has fallen by more than 40% this year. Amwell and Doximity are also facing challenges. But telehealth executives and investors tell Modern Healthcare there’s still a tremendous opportunity in virtual care. But it has to offer more than just improved access. Five of them share their insights. (Modern Healthcare)

Practice Transformation

Study calls for consistency in PGx testing

Incorporating a standardized approach to evaluate the clinical utility of pharmacogenetic testing could increase its use in practices, according to research published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. Inconsistencies in testing recommendations among clinical associations contribute to the limited uptake of pharmacogenetic testing in clinical practice. In contrast, a “standardized approach to evaluating the evidence of clinical utility for pharmacogenetic testing may increase the inclusion and consistency of pharmacogenetic testing recommendations in clinical practice guidelines, which could benefit patients and society by increasing clinical use of pharmacogenetic testing,” the authors conclude. (Drug TopicsAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy)

AI tool may help patients understand and discuss lab results

A $1 million AHRQ grant will help researchers develop a large language model called LabGenie. It will use generative AI to contextualize information about lab test results and provide questions patients can use to discuss their results with clinicians. “The project addresses a critical need for better patient engagement by building a patient-facing decision aid that will provide informative visual representations of lab results and tailored question prompts for patients to discuss with their providers,” explained Zhe He, PhD, an associate professor in FSU’s School of Information. (Health IT Analytics)

Evidence & Innovation

Dosing matters

Amgen’s sotorasib, costing $20,000 per month, was conditionally approved at a 960 mg dosage. Clinical trials found that this dose may extend life by a month but also increases severe side effects vs. a 240 mg dose. Despite the ongoing debate over the right dosage, Amgen continues with the higher dose—even though testing showed that a lower dose worked as well and with fewer side effects. KFF Health News points out that the higher dose earns Amgen an additional $180,000 a year per patient. “It’s better for everyone to find the right dose before a drug is out on the market,” says Dr. Donald Harvey, an Emory University pharmacology professor. “Better for the patient, and better for the company, which can sell more of a good drug if the patients aren’t getting sick and no longer taking it.” (KFF Health News)

Another study highlights benefits of CMM

A small retrospective study out of Costa Rica, published in Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy, highlights significant clinical and economic benefits of comprehensive medication management programs. “This study reveals the significant clinical and economic benefits of CMM programs. …The findings provide compelling evidence for hospital management to consider promoting such programs, drawing from the patient-centered care model in the United States applicable to Latin America,” the authors conclude. (Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy)

Policy Solutions

Exploring models of CMM success

Katherine Herring Capps, Co-Founder, GTMRx Institute, will lead a panel discussion entitled “Comprehensive Medication Management: New Business and Practice Models Integrating Pharmacists Into Health Care” at the America’s Physician Groups Spring Conference. It will be held on May 30 at 1:30pm. The panel members– Amanda Brummel, PharmD, BCACP; Marie Smith, PharmD; and Michael Hochman, MD, MPH– will discuss validated practice models of integrated pharmacy care that have led to measurable returns on investment, cost savings and patient care. (APG breakout sessions)

Rewarding drug stewardship

The Senate Finance Committee has drafted a bipartisan bill to reward hospitals for business practices that ensure an adequate supply of drugs. Drug shortages have been a persistent problem for years, and they’re worse than ever, according to a recent report by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The problem is most severe for hospitals and doctors who regularly administer drugs. Oncologists have been running out of common chemo drugs. Generic injectables account for 67% of shortages, and more than half of drugs in short supply cost less than $1 per unit. (STAT)

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