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Health care providers across the country are implementing medicine management programs to oversee patients’ medications, ensure they are taken correctly and achieve their therapeutic outcomes. These programs, when implemented effectively, help prevent adverse drug events, provide educational materials for patients and caregivers, and reduce costs.
CMS and private payors are now widely implementing these medication therapy management (MTM) programs. CMS has implemented or will soon implement MTM programs for enrollees on Medicare Part D plans, bundling payment for MTM services with reimbursement for Part D drugs. Here are some ways you can implement a successful medicine management program.
Several errors lead to poor medication outcomes, including taking too much medication - even non-prescription medicines such as Tylenol - confusing one drug with another and taking a pill with food when patients should take it before eating. Patients make these mistakes because of the ineffectiveness or side effects of the medicine. Even patients who have been taking medication for a long time may be making these mistakes and not even realise it.
A way to counter these mistakes is to provide printed handouts to patients and caregivers. The flyers are simple reminders and include information about the drug’s proper use.
As experts in the use of medicines and medicine management, Pharmacists have made several appearances on national quality and safety organisations' radars. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) all declared pharmacists as critical players in medication management.
Pharmacists can be seen providing expert advice and consultation to patients, family members, and or caregivers. A pharmacist on the care team can ensure that policies, procedures, and practices follow the most up-to-date standards.
Their training qualifies them to provide in-depth education, medication-related consultation, and advice to patients, their families and other healthcare providers. Pharmacists play an integral part in treatment plans to ensure optimal goals.
Pharmacist availability is vital for medicine management. They should be available to patients during clinic hours and after hours to get patients started in the program. This Rx Pilot study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that the limited availability of pharmacists can be a deterrent for patients taking part in the program. Pharmacists who are on-site to speak with patients about their medications were a key driver for patients participating in this program.
Another way to remain cost-efficient is by placing pharmacy students in on-the-job training. They can provide valuable assistance in the pharmacy because of their flexible time, and they have fewer clashing responsibilities than full-time pharmacists. Be aware, though, that the demanding schedules of pharmacy students may limit their availability to speak with patients. Make sure you have a clear plan that considers your needs and your other care team members.
Generally, it is safer for patients to take as few medicines as possible. Keeping the number of medications low decreases the chance of interactions and side effects. Removing pills is ideal in a medicine management program when it occurs with forethought, in an organised manner that leaves less room for mistakes.
Too much of a good thing — including medication — results in adverse physiological effects and could also increase the condition’s resistance to them. Poor medicine management could also depend on the drugs far after accomplishing their goal. Remember this guide so you can treat patients better on their paths to recovery.
Consult with Unichem Greenhithe Pharmacy for better medicine management in your facility. We offer a range of options that achieve the best health solutions for your patients. Our pharmacists have training from the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine so that you can worry less — we know what we’re doing.