NACDS Foundation is supporting additional efforts to help Minnesota patients confront high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes by leveraging pharmacists to help them manage their medications, in conjunction with researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina. The Foundation has announced that it is providing matching funds to a program designed to build on the prior success of medication management by further evaluating its results, including the feasibility and sustainability of enhancing its accessibility for patients throughout the nation.
As part of a highly collaborative program, the NACDS Foundation initiated a grant agreement with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. The University of North Carolina Eshelman Institute for Innovation also is providing funding, as is the Minnesota Department of Health in partnership with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thirteen community pharmacy organizations are enrolled in the project, with over 130 store locations participating. An integrated healthcare organization in Minnesota also is collaborating in the program.
“Medication management strategies provided by community pharmacists have demonstrated effectiveness in improving patients’ medication use, improving their health, and reducing overall healthcare costs,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. “The NACDS Foundation is committed to advancing innovative care models that hold promise for public health and that create unique partnerships that can be replicated and scaled to help even more patients across the United States. This initiative is an ideal example of this commitment in action and we are thrilled more patients can further benefit from these care interventions.”
“Pharmacists will be working with patients and other members of their health care team to support improvement of health by optimizing the use of their medications,” said Jason Varin, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and a community pharmacist. “Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services can improve overall patient health outcomes by ensuring that medications provide the most benefit, potentially decrease the overall costs of care and improve patients’ health care experiences. By encouraging patients to engage with their local pharmacist, we are hoping more conversations between patient and pharmacist will center around the best way to manage and improve their health.”
The lead researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy will evaluate the results of the program to provide additional insights about the effects of medication management on decreasing blood pressure among patients with hypertension, helping patients become tobacco-free, and reducing blood sugar among patients with diabetes.
The partnering organizations note that some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in healthcare relate to ensuring that patients are prescribed optimal medications for their unique needs, that patients are able to take them as prescribed, and that the medications are safe and effective. About 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled and about half of medications for chronic diseases are not taken as prescribed. This is estimated to cause the deaths of about 125,000 people every year and at least one in ten hospital admissions. In more than 90 percent of visits, pharmacists providing MTM services identify at least one opportunity to improve a patient’s medication regimen.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found participation in MTM doubled the number of patients who had blood pressure under control compared to patients who had usual care. The study found that the average patient who participated in MTM had approximately $1,300 less in healthcare costs than patients who did not receive MTM.