Integrating innovative telehealth solutions into an interprofessional team-delivered chronic care management pilot program

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Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy


BACKGROUND: Pharmacist-delivered medication therapy management (MTM) services can improve patient outcomes, yet little is known about outpatient, interprofessional telepharmacy programs. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate an outpatient, interprofessional telehealth chronic care management (CCM) pilot program. METHODS: This 6-month program integrated family medicine providers, a university-based medication management telepharmacist, and an interprofessional care coordinator using telehealth solutions for CCM and pharmacy education services. A physician referred patients at risk for medicine-related problems to the telepharmacist. Eligible patients had 3 or more chronic conditions or took at least 5 medications, were aged 18 years and older, and had at least 1 appointment with their primary care provider during the program. The care coordinator met patients in person to facilitate these virtual clinic processes. The telepharmacist conducted a comprehensive medication review (CMR) via video-conferencing technology, providing CCM based on primary diagnosis, current medications and allergies, laboratory results, and previous chart notes. The consultation was documented in the electronic health record (EHR) for provider review and modification in real time. RESULTS: 69 patients received telepharmacy consultations and on-site registered nurse support during the program. Most patients were female (56.5%), aged 51-70 years (60.1%), Caucasian (72.4%), and non-Hispanic/ Latino (71.0%). Patients had 1-9 chronic conditions, such as hypertension (82.6%), diabetes (56.5%), hyperlipidemia (31.9%), depression (30.4%), and osteoporosis (29.0%). Most patients (94.2%) took at least 5 chronic disease medications, such as statins (11.2%), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (8.4%), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (6.5%), beta blockers (6.5%), and calcium channel blockers (5.6%). The telepharmacist completed 200 interventions for safety (49.0%), vaccines (24.5%), care gaps per national consensus guidelines (13.5%), adherence (10.0%), and cost savings (3.0%). Patients' providers accepted one third (n = 75, 37.5%) of the telepharmacist recommendations (e.g., monitoring and medication changes). CONCLUSIONS: This telehealth program constituted an added service for patients while simultaneously filling a gap in on-site pharmacist counseling services. Integrating the telepharmacist and registered nurse was crucial to clinical service provision. The results are encouraging; however, more research must examine the effectiveness of telehealth services in reaching underserved populations, improving patient care, and decreasing health care costs.

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