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Practice Transformation

Patient engagement programs need a strong team-based care infrastructure, according to research published in the Annals of Family Medicine. Researchers drew from the VA Patient-Aligned Care Team (PACT) 2016 national survey of direct care clinicians. Among the findings: “Working in a chaotic clinic environment with vague team boundaries is associated with higher barriers to providing patient-centered care. Clear expectations of each team member’s duties and responsibilities are needed to optimize the team’s efficiency, to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.” The researchers also identify full staffing of primary care teams, effective leadership and a practice culture of performance as ways to increase adoption and use of patient engagement practices. (Annals of Family MedicinePatientEngagementHIT)
Forget stereotypes. Older patients appear ready to embrace telemedicine, HealthLeaders Media reports, citing data from Strata Decision Technology. The highest uptake came from patients 30-39, where it accounted for nearly 28% of from March to July, but utilization for those 60-80 was well above 20% (nearly 24% for those 60-69). Still, experts advise providing clear steep-by-step instructions to seniors using telehealth. Another tip: When patients lack internet access, encourage them to use their smartphones. (HealthLeaders Media)

Evidence & Innovation

As the population ages and new life-saving therapies arrive on the market, “the importance of optimizing medication usage to realize the maximum potential of medicines to improve patient-centered, cost-sensitive care increases,” GTMRx Distinguished Fellow Jonathan H. Watanabe, PharmD, MS, PhD, writes in Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research. He shares evidence demonstrating that collaboration between physicians and pharmacists can lead to more evidence-based, cost-effective use of medication. “The necessity of expansion of pharmacist-delivered care and improved utilization of clinical evidence will be fundamental to achieving the full benefit medications offer society.” (Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research)
Pain, a common symptom of sickle cell disease (SCD), is the leading cause of emergency department visits and hospital stays among patients with this disease. However, limited guidance on management of pain and other SCD complications has led to variability in clinical practice. That may be changing. With patient input, American Society of Hematology has issued new evidence-based guidelines aimed at helping providers and patients make informed decisions regarding individualized care. (Helio)
Former Amazon executive Omer Gajil was named senior vice president of pharmacy and health at Albertsons, which operates 1,726 pharmacies in the U.S., Supermarket News reported. Albertsons, based in Boise, Idaho, is one of the nation’s largest retail pharmacy operations and the second-largest U.S. supermarket operator. (Supermarket News)

Policy Solutions

The pandemic has spurred development of many artificial intelligence models designed to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19, but few have received FDA emergency use authorization. “That scarcity is a sign of the newness of these tools—as well as the murkiness of the regulatory landscape at a time when unapproved algorithms are being widely tested and rolled out in the clinic,” STAT reports. However, the FDA did recently issue one for an AI tool to predict which coronavirus patients are at risk for needing to be intubated. (STAT)
The fate of the Affordable Care Act could have significant implications for the 340B drug discount program, Modern Healthcare reports. Depending on which provisions—if any—of the ACA is struck down, providers could lose some or all of their discounts. Some rural providers fear this could be devastating. “It’s a really big deal, but there’s not a lot covered entities can do about that,” says 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni. (Modern Healthcare*)
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In Case You Missed It!

Helping Employers Avoid Waste in Pharmacy Benefits Spend: The Role of Comprehensive Medication Management
Friday, October 30, 2020 | 1- 2 p.m. EDT
Cheryl Larson, president and CEO of Midwest Business Group on Health and GTMRx Employer Toolkit Taskforce member, discusses how comprehensive medication management (CMM) can strengthen employer health plans. Learn about how the current model of paying for low value medications no longer works and how employers, as health plan fiduciaries, can utilize innovative strategies such as CMM to provide high value care for plan participants while protecting plan assets. Understand how CCM helps employers to saves lives, improve employee productivity and enhance clinical outcomes.
October 9, 2020 GTMRx Executive Roundtable
At the GTMRx Institute, we recognize that we cannot achieve our goals for medication management reform without a team-based approach which must include a viable primary care foundation—supported by payment reform that rewards inter-professional teams, utilizes effective and smart use of health IT at the point of care and is personalized through the use of companion and complementary diagnostics.
The virtual event will bring in speakers to illuminate the crisis we face with
  • a crumbling primary care infrastructure,
  • the importance of payment and policy change to achieve value,
  • the way forward in practice transformation and
  • the need for point-of-care access to information enabled by health IT (companion and complementary diagnostic test results, clinical information needed to evaluate therapy effectiveness and/or changes in needed therapy) available for use by all team members.
Featuring Susan Dentzer, MPH; Patrick Conway, MD; Mary R. McClurg, Pharm.D.; Mark Loafman, MD, MPH; Ann Greiner and Annette Dubard, MD, MPH. Find more information here.
CMM offers reduced costs, improves access to care, provides better care and enhances provider work life. These results are outlined in “The Outcomes of Implementing and Integrating Comprehensive Medication Management in Team-Based Care: A Review of the Evidence on Quality, Access and Costs,” updated in June 2020. The evidence document was prepared by GTMRx workgroup members, M. Shawn McFarland, PharmD, FCCP, BCACP, national clinical pharmacy practice program manager, clinical practice integration and model advancement, clinical pharmacy practice office, pharmacy benefits management services, Veterans Health Administration; and Marcia Buck, PharmD, FCCP, FPPAG, BCPPS, director, clinical practice advancement, American College of Clinical Pharmacy. (GTMRx Institute)
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. Did you miss the most recent episode?
Episodes feature:
  • Liz Fowler, JD, Ph.D., executive vice president for programs, The Commonwealth Fund
  • Amy Gutierrez, Pharm.D.,senior vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Kaiser Permanente
  • Amanda Brummel, PharmD, BCACP, vice president, Clinical Ambulatory Pharmacy Services, Fairview Pharmacy Services
  • Orsula V. Knowlton, PharmD, MBA, president and chief marketing & new business development officer, Tabula Rasa HealthCare
  • Anand Parekh, MD, chief medical advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Paul Grundy, MD, president, GTMRx; chief transformation officer, Innovaccer
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
The GTMRx Institute is supported by our Founding Funders, Executive Members and Strategic Partners.
  See past issues of our weekly news brief here

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