Community health worker perspectives of an academic community medication therapy management collaboration

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Journal of the American Pharmacists Association


Objective: To qualitatively assess community health workers’ (CHWs’) perceptions of the challenges and benefits associated with participating in a collaborative, interprofessional medication therapy management (MTM) program for rural, underserved, predominantly Latinx, patients with diabetes and hypertension. Methods: Nine CHWs participated in a 1-hour, semistructured focus group that explored their experiences while assisting in the delivery of MTM services through an academic community partnership between an MTM provider and participating rural clinics. Audio recordings of the focus group were transcribed and thematically analyzed by 2 independent reviewers. Results: All program-involved CHWs participated in the focus group. Qualitative analysis identified 2 overarching themes: (1) opportunities and (2) challenges. Opportunities were further subcategorized as benefits to (1) CHWs, (2) patients, or (3) academic community MTM research. The CHWs perceived that they served as a liaison among the medical provider (prescriber), patient, and MTM pharmacist. Benefits to the patients focused on the integration of CHWs as essential to patient recruitment, especially for those who were reluctant to participate or receive a phone call from a stranger. The major challenges identified were (1) interruptions in workflow and (2) communication between CHWs and the health care practitioners (physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists). Specifically, the CHWs universally agreed that they needed more time after receiving patient report, scheduling a visit with the patient, and communicating with the patient's health care provider to better understand the individual's circumstances and needs. Conclusion: This study identified perceived opportunities and challenges faced by CHWs and chronically ill, rural Latinx patients in the acceptance of MTM program. These findings may be useful for all interprofessional health care team members to better understand and appreciate the role of CHWs, while simultaneously enhancing and improving respective medication adherence efforts, and to improve collaborative, academic community programs in the future.

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