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Practice Transformation

Up to 30 percent of people who are prescribed customary medications for chronic conditions are taking the wrong drug or the wrong dose of the right drug. Large employers are counting the cost of the medication mis-match, which add up to millions of dollars squandered on drugs that don’t work—plus the related costs when patients don’t get better (or even get worse). Some employers are paying for genetic testing, a one-time cost that pays off for life. Employees are matched to the right drug, which, in the long term, benefits employers who see lower downstream physician and hospital costs. (Benefits Pro)
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Medication Optimization is creating a care coordination hub to help community pharmacists proactively manage medications for chronically ill patients. Noting that more than $520 billion a year is wasted on medications that are not optimized for the patient, Jon Easter, leader of the Center, says it’s important for community pharmacists to come out from behind the pharmacy counter and engage in medication management. “What we’re doing is providing research and evidence as to what enhanced services that pharmacists can and should be providing.” (UNC Chapel Hill Focus CarolinaJon Easter podcast)

Evidence & InnovationEmployers reduce cost, errors with genetic testingEmployers reduce cost, errors with genetic testing

Researchers at Columbia have developed a system that enables them to study tens to hundreds of programmed bacteria at once. The biological “robots” can be programmed to tackle diseases, and now the time to create and study them has moved from months to days. The increased efficiency is broadly applicable, and can be used to help personalize medical treatments: Essentially, researchers create a patient’s cancer in a dish and then identify the best therapy for the individual. (Medica)
If personalized medicine is to advance within value-based reimbursement models, there has to be a way to align it with quality measurement—usually associated with standardization of care (which is, by definition, at odds with personalized care). How do we cut the knot? In this Health Affairs blog post, the writers use oncology as an example to demonstrate the challenges and to recommend a foundation for quality within personalized medicine. Hint: With personalized medicine, alignment with patient preferences and goals may trump standardized outcomes. (Health Affairs)

Policy Solutions

GTMRx Institute Policy Update blog post
I was thrilled to see HHS and CMS take a big step towards health care transformation with the announcement of the CMS Primary Cares Initiative—a new set of value-based care models that will be tested starting as early as January 2020. HHS Secretary Azar perhaps said it best—“For years, policymakers have talked about building an American health care system that focuses on primary care, pays for value, and places the patient at the center. These new models represent the biggest step ever taken toward that vision.” Read more.
Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams issued a statement during National Immunization Week underscoring the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to prevent disease. “Unfortunately, there is inaccurate information circulating about vaccines, so let’s make sure we separate the facts from the myths,” Adams said, noting that parental concerns or questions should be taken to their health care provider. (Surgeon General’s Statement)
In this brief video (1:39), Brigadier General Allison Hickey (retired), founder and CEO of All In Solutions LLC and former Undersecretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration talks about the role of data in enhancing patient care and confidence to get the medications right.
The GTMRx Institute Learning Network will host two of the researchers who identified the $528 billion opportunity to reduce the overall cost of health care. Study co-authors Jan Hirsch, Ph.D. and Dr. Terry McInnis will briefly talk about the $528 billion wasted on non-optimized medication use each year, and delve into the need for comprehensive medication management. They’ll also discuss the implications for pharmacy education and training and how CMM is integrated into team-based care models. Register for the free webinar.

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