As the Biden administration takes hold, healthcare organizations are focusing on the policies it will adopt in a number of key areas. While reorganizing health policy, it is imperative that the administration responds to the need for national reform of drug management. A critical opportunity presents itself to embolden the healthcare strategy by ensuring that patients understand their medications and are able to work with a clinical pharmacist and physician to verify that the medications prescribed are suitable for them.
With more than 10,000 drugs on the market, the proper, effective, safe and accurate use of drugs and gene therapies is more important than ever. The move towards drug management reform requires comprehensive and validated clinical data, securely integrated into point-of-care healthcare IT systems. These data must be usable and must be available to the entire care team, including the clinical pharmacist. Without the right health informatics to support it, a transition to comprehensive medication management (CMM) will be severely hampered.
How data drives comprehensive medication management
CMM is a team-based care solution that involves the patient working with a physician and other healthcare providers, including a clinical pharmacist. This inter-professional team relies on the skills and expertise of each member to optimize the use of drugs. The team’s efforts are rooted in a strong, evidence-based patient health record and medical history, in combination with clinical and diagnostic results. Many current healthcare IT systems do not provide access to the clinical data necessary to comprehensively manage, monitor and evaluate a patient’s drug regimen. To transition to MMT, the healthcare industry must adopt, implement and enforce data sharing requirements in both the public and private sectors.
When technology-based clinical information (such as laboratory and diagnostic data that includes pharmacogenetic test results, clinical notes, and patient status) is available to the entire point-of-care team, providers care can accomplish important activities in the CMM process. This data helps teams identify patients who have not met clinical goals for therapy – or who are having problems with drug therapy – and assess actual patterns of use of all drugs (including drugs in use). over-the-counter, supplements, prescription drugs and biologics). With full access to clinical data, patient care teams can evaluate each drug for safe, effective and appropriate use.
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Comprehensive medication management improves clinical outcomes
With an overtaxed healthcare system battling COVID-19 across the country, doctor’s appointments, emergency room availability and hospital beds are scarce. Data shows that inappropriate drug therapy – misuse, underuse, and overuse – can lead to treatment failure, new medical problems, or both. Each year, 275,000 preventable deaths and health costs of around $ 528.4 billion are the result of unoptimized drug use. Studies show that CMM reduces the burden on the healthcare system by improving clinical outcomes and reducing hospital readmission rates.
With CMM, healthcare informatics enables a process of care designed to systematically identify, manage and resolve patient drug treatment issues as they move through the continuum of care. Participation in CMM services – designed to optimize drug use through identification and resolution of drug treatment problems – may be correlated with broader changes in health status or patterns of use health care, demonstrating the contribution and value of the national health system.
$ 528.4 billion
The estimated annual cost of prescription drug morbidity and mortality resulting from unoptimized drug therapy
Source: Annals of Pharmacotherapy, “Cost of Prescription Drug – Related Morbidity and Mortality”, March 2018
Unite to achieve drug management reform
Achieving drug management reform requires alliances between providers, payers, patients and policy makers. Our organization, the GTMRx Institute, has developed an action plan entitled “The GTMRx blueprint for change, ”Based on five principles:
- A personalized, patient-centered, systematic and coordinated approach to drug use will dramatically improve outcomes and reduce overall health care costs.
- Aligning systems of care to integrate comprehensive medication management and engaging patients to ensure they are willing and able to take indicated, effective and safe medications will optimize outcomes.
- The immediate transformation of the delivery system, payments and policies will streamline clinical trials and reduce the costs of bringing drugs to market while enabling successful and large-scale adoption of GMC’s integrated services.
- Access to advanced diagnostics with complementary and pharmacogenetic testing is essential to target correct therapy.
- Success requires patient-centered team care models that recognize qualified clinical pharmacists as drug experts who work collaboratively with physicians and other providers.
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We propose that the Biden administration adopt this roadmap to effect a meaningful policy change focused on team health care to get the right drugs. Our nation suffers from multiple crises: a pandemic, opioid addiction, and the fact that more than a quarter of American adults live with multiple chronic health conditions. Now is the perfect time for multidisciplinary collaboration and reform focused on personalized drug management that optimizes care.