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Practice Transformation

UnitedHealthcare has recently decided to cover some pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing. The rollout begins in November, and the plan is to cover testing for patients with major depressive disorder and/or anxiety who have experienced treatment failure at least once. What does this mean to providers? In a recent blog post, Dr. Julie England of OneOme points out, for instance, that even when PGx is only covered for specific conditions and circumstances, the information can be used across specialties and for years to come. (OneOme)
A large proportion of medically complex patients with type 2 diabetes in the United States are overtreated, leading to more than 9,500 potentially preventable hospital visits over a two-year period, according to research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “While historically we have focused on preventing undertreatment—which I still firmly believe we need to continue to do—at the same time we have to make sure we don’t overtreat,” senior author Rozalina G. McCoy, MD, tells Medscape Medical News. (Medscape Medical NewsMayo Clinic Proceedings)

Evidence & Innovation

Not all treatments are based on solid evidence, warns health economist Austin Frakt. In fact, he says, half are ineffective. He goes on to offer a disturbingly robust list of examples of common treatments and medical advice proffered without solid evidence. For example, despite a lack of solid evidence, for years many believed—incorrectly, of course—that modern opioid medications were not addictive. (The New York Times)
Specialty drugs made up 1% of prescriptions for employers but accounted for 40% of total drug spending last year, according to analysis from Willis Towers Watson’s Rx Collaborative, a large employer pharmacy benefit group purchasing organization. The three costliest: injectable immunotherapy drugs indicated for psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. (FierceHealthcareWillis Towers Watson)
Four experts in population health IT shared their insights with Healthcare IT News. Among them was LeRoy Jones, founder and CEO of GSI Health who emphasized the importance of true collaboration; he warned against simply “bolding together information from different tools.” You can’t always get what you want. “When everyone follows an independent model with different workflows and tool capabilities, there is no shared accountability for following the planned population health management approach, making it harder for you to achieve your outcome and financial goals.” (Healthcare IT News)

Policy Solutions

The All of Us research program, launched last year by the National Institutes of Health, seeks to enroll at least a million diverse Americans to accelerate biomedical research and improve health. The leaders published a report last month in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing their progress. As of July 2019, more than 175,000 participants had contributed biospecimens. More than 80% of them are from groups historically underrepresented in biomedical research. Another 112,000 have authorized providers to upload their EHR data to the program. (New England Journal of Medicine)
Free, Live, GTMRx Institute Webinar
Core tenets to implement CMM in primary care:
Getting the medications right
September 26, 2019 | 1- 2 p.m. EDT
Presented by:
The evidence is clear: comprehensive medication management (CMM) is good for patients as well as for the pharmacists, physicians and others involved in their care. Through CMM services, we have a team-based, systematic approach to ensure medications are safe, effective and appropriate for every patient. Now we need to know how to implement it consistently across primary care teams. This webinar will offer a customizable blueprint for delivery of CMM and demonstrate how it improves work-life balance for primary care providers. It will include strategies learned from practices in the field and showcase evidence-based tools practices can use to implement CMM.
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