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Practice Transformation

There’s growing interest in the study of drug metabolism in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), Clinical Advisor reports. Current research suggests that pharmacogenetic testing may improve response and remission rates among individuals with MDD. Challenges persist. For example, the cost may be prohibitive, and patients still may experience adverse effects even when pharmacogenetic testing is used. Among Clinical Advisor’s recommendations: Manage patient expectations. “Pharmacogenetic testing offers more information, but there are no guarantees that a patient will improve with the selected antidepressant. Providers should discuss options with patients and apply testing on a case-by-case basis.” (Clinical Advisor)
Sam’s Club—a division of Walmart—is offering members a telehealth discount with virtual care provider 98point6. A subscription includes visits for $1 with unlimited use and access to board-certified doctors. Members can purchase a $20 quarterly subscription for the first three months; after that, it rises to $33.50. “Through providing access to the 98point6 app in a pilot, we quickly realized that our members were eager to have mobile telehealth options and we wanted to provide this healthcare solution to all of our members as a standalone option,” says John McDowell, VP of pharmacy operations and divisional merchandise at Sam’s Club. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Evidence & Innovation

Labs play an important role in the health care industry’s transition to value-based care, providing crucial data in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Therefore, say industry leaders, lab managers should be involved in their institutions’ transition from volume to value. “We have to become stewards of that data. We have to learn how to manipulate that data, we have to learn how to manage that data and we have to learn how to ask the right questions of that data,” explains Myra Wilkerson, MD, chair of laboratory medicine at Geisinger.(Medical Laboratory Observer)
Medical AI systems are disproportionately built with data from just three states, California, Massachusetts and New York, and this lack of geographic diversity could mean the technology is applying a one-size-fits-all approach to patient care, according to research published last month in JAMA Network Open. Why these three? Because many clinical AI researchers are affiliated with academic medical centers in those states. The problem is that many medical factors vary by region, Amit Kaushal, MD, PhD, tells STAT. The factors “end up getting baked into the dataset and become implicit assumptions in the data, which may not be valid assumptions nationwide.” (STAT NewsJAMA Network Open)

Policy Solutions

President Donald Trump, outlining his “America First Health Plan,” last month announced that his administration will allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. The plan does not allow for importation of biologics, including insulin. The final plan clears the way for Florida and other states to implement a program bringing medications across the border, despite the strong objections of drugmakers and the Canadian government. (Kaiser Health News)
When the market entry of generic drugs is delayed the lost savings opportunities tops $100 million annually in Medicaid spending, according to research published in Health Affairs this summer. Researchers looked at 69 brand-name drugs. For 31 products (45%) generic entry was delayed by more than one quarter or did not occur at all. Only 11 products (16%) faced no delays. Medicaid spent an estimated excess of $761 million over seven years. Patent litigation was the most common cause of generic entry delays. (Health Affairs)
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In Case You Missed It!

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. This is a by invitation only event. 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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