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Practice Transformation

The Association for Molecular Pathology recently published a position statement for pharmacogenomic testing. It includes a list of criteria for laboratories that ensure responsible use, preserve broad access and improve patient care. (statement; announcement)
What becomes of empathy when physicians are tied to their screens? “The connection between doctor and patient is the foundation of empathy. How can we even begin to sense our patients’ world if we are hardly glancing in their direction… because we ourselves are drowning in the EMR?” Danielle Ofri asks in a Perspectives piece in The Lancet. “The aggressiveness of the EMR’s incursion into the doctor-patient relationship has forced us to declare our loyalties: are we taking care of patients or are we taking care of the EMR?” (The Lancet)

Evidence & Innovation

Technology—such as text, video and wearables—may help patients adhere to medication regimens and achieve other targeted health outcomes—especially when compared to old-school letters and phone calls, according to presenters at a recent Academy of Managed Care meeting. These newer tools allow for a proactive, rather than reactive, approach. “We really should have a mindset to shift more toward how to use predictive analytics or artificial intelligence to identify an opportunity before it actually occurs,” says Mark Santilli, PharmD, of Magellan Rx Management. (Pharmacy Technology Report)
University of Pittsburgh employees with UPMC Health Plan coverage can get questions answered about their medications at no cost through the UPMC comprehensive medication management program. Eligible employees can schedule an appointment to meet with a pharmacist on campus or by phone to discuss their prescribed and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements along with any potential side effects or interactions with other drugs. (University Times)

Policy Solutions

When the first gene therapy for sickle cell comes to market, it could dramatically improve survival and quality of life. But Ahmar Zaidi, MD, pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, offers this warning: “I guess the biggest downfall to me is related to the social determinants, where the only thing that should matter in these patients is their genetic code, but often it’s your zip code that really restrains your ability to access the health care you deserve,” he says in a video for the American Journal of Managed Care. (AJMC)
Encouraging patients to access and share health data are major Trump administration policy goals. However, patients aren’t exactly lining up to share their data. But that’s beside the point, say those advocating access. “The outcome of public policy we should care about is not ‘how many have accessed their information,’ but rather ‘how many can access their information,’” Jeff Smith, vice president of public policy at the American Medical Informatics Association, told Politico. (Politico; JAMA)
Upcoming: Focus On Communications
In five short months, the GTMRx Institute has already gained 500 signing members, and we are growing every day! We are off to a fast start—producing timely, relevant content and resources through the GTMRx Learning Network and convening workgroups to develop a Blueprint for Change to optimize medication use for all patients. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing monthly updates to our members on our initiatives and our progress. Only signing members will receive the links to access these Focus On Communications updates. If you’re not yet a signing member, now’s the perfect time to join. It’s simple and free to join, and we hope you’ll help us spread the word with others in your network who want to be part of the movement to get the medications right, the first time!
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