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Popul Health Manag. 2015 Feb;18(1):23-9. doi: 10.1089/pop.2014.0043. Epub 2014 Jul 16.

Improving population management through pharmacist-primary care integration: a pilot study.

Author information

1
1 Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine , Burlington, Vermont.

Abstract

Pharmacists have unique skills that may benefit primary care practices. The objective of this demonstration project was to determine the impact of integrating pharmacists into patient-centered medical homes, with a focus on population management. Pharmacists were partnered into 5 primary care practices in Vermont 1 day per week to provide direct patient care, population-based medication management, and prescriber education. The main measures included a description of drug therapy problems identified and cost avoidance models. The pharmacists identified 708 drug therapy problems through direct patient care (336/708; 47.5%), population-based strategies (276/708; 38.9%), and education (96/708; 13.6%). Common population-based strategies included adjusting doses and discontinuing unnecessary medications. Pharmacists' recommendations to correct drug therapy problems were accepted by prescribers 86% of the time, when data about acceptance were known. Of the 49 recommendations not accepted, 47/49 (96%) were population-based and 2/49 (4%) were related to direct patient care. The cost avoidance model suggests $2.11 in cost was avoided for every $1.00 spent on a pharmacist ($373,092/$176,690). There was clear value in integrating pharmacists into primary care teams. Their inclusion prevented adverse drug events, avoided costs, and improved patient outcomes. Primary care providers should consider pharmacists well suited to offer direct patient care, population-based management, and prescriber education to their practices. To be successful, pharmacists must have full permission to document findings in the primary care practices' electronic health records. Given that many pharmacist services do not involve billable activities, sustainability requires identifying alternative funding mechanisms that do not rely on a traditional fee-for-service approach.

PMID:
25029631
DOI:
10.1089/pop.2014.0043
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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