Assessing the effect of a telepharmacist's recommendations during an integrated, interprofessional telehealth appointment and their alignment with quality measures

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Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy


BACKGROUND: A growing provider shortage contributes to the widening gap in significant disparities that rural communities face. To expand access to care for rural-dwelling patients with epilepsy, a national nonprofit organization initiated an integrated, interprofessional telehealth program. OBJECTIVE: To identify gaps in care based on a telepharmacist's recommendations and determine whether these recommendations aligned with Health Effectiveness Data Information Set (HEDIS) performance measures. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients who had an appointment with an integrated interprofessional care team composed of an epileptologist, a social worker, registered nurses, and a pharmacist. This novel approach integrated provision of care by team members at geographically distinct remote locations. The pharmacist conducted comprehensive medical reviews via video conferencing and made recommendations to the epileptologist, primary care provider, and/or patient, as appropriate. The consultation was documented in the electronic health record (EHR). The pharmacist's recommendations were categorized as 1 of the 24 preselected HEDIS performance measures or as a non-HEDIS measure. The analysis used descriptive statistics to report patient demographics and pharmacist recommendations. RESULTS: This study included 86 participants. 86 initial and 36 follow-up appointments were conducted between April 2016 and October 2017. The majority of patients were female (52%), with a mean age of 26.2 years (SD = 14.6, range 4-76) and were taking an average of 6.1 medications (SD = 3.6). 159 comorbidities or conditions were identified in the EHR along with 306 recommendations, for an average of 3.6 recommendations per patient (SD = 3.2). 41 (13.4%) recommendations aligned with preselected HEDIS measures, including medication management for depression (31.7%), hypertension (24.4%), asthma (9.8%), and comprehensive adult diabetes care (14.6%). The remaining 265 recommendations lacked sufficient documentation for categorization or failed to align with any targeted measure. CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective analysis showed that only 13% of pharmacist recommendations aligned with HEDIS quality measures. While it demonstrates the added value of clinical pharmacists in novel telehealth approaches, future work is needed to develop strategies to increase the number of recommendations aligning with HEDIS measures that adhere to national consensus treatment guidelines via telepharmacist training and improved documentation.

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