U.S. Pharmacist conducted the following Q&A with Troy Hilsenroth, MHA/MBA, FACHE, Vice President of the Medication Adherence Division of Omnicell, during the NACDS Total Store Expo in Denver, Colorado, August 2018.

Q: Why is value-based, patient-centric healthcare so important in pharmacy?

A: Spending on healthcare has grown at an unsustainable rate and now represents approximately one-fifth or our country’s GDP. For this reason, value-based healthcare requires us all to do more with less and to improve quality of care while reducing overall costs.

Pharmacy is uniquely positioned to maximize the approximately $3 trillion of healthcare spend in this country to improve patient outcomes and reduce downstream healthcare costs. In a value-based healthcare economy, successful pharmacy competitors will be those who keep patients at the center of care and apply technology and automation to enable them to do what pharmacists are trained to do—manage medications.

A healthcare organization’s ability to target high-risk, high-cost patients will be critical to value-based care. Deploying the right interventions at the right time to yield the best outcomes will be essential to demonstrating the pharmacist’s value, putting pharmacy at the center of that effort.

Q: How can pharmacists ensure their patients have the best possible experience?

A: Sitting in a pharmacy, waiting for patients to come to the pharmacist, just doesn’t work anymore. Patients demand more convenience as the market affords them more convenience, which is why pharmacists need to offer this level of service to ensure the best possible experience.

For this reason, pharmacists need to direct their efforts as healthcare providers on what’s best for the patient. This means applying technology and automation to provide more time for medication management and face-to-face counseling, and less time consumed by distribution. By leveraging technology, pharmacists can better focus on outcomes-based interventions and activities that will add more value to the healthcare system. Technology has the ability to automate time-consuming manual tasks and highlight where to direct the pharmacy’s limited resources on value-added interventions.

For example, pharmacists can use technology to understand patient preferences and communicate with them accordingly. If a patient wants a call, give them a call. If they want a text, give them a text. The consumer is becoming increasing digital, which is why digital pharmacy is the pharmacy of the future.

Q: Please explain how the new enhancements to your Patient Engagement platform work to improve patient outcomes?

A: Our Omnicell Patient Engagement platform is a secure cloud solution that helps guide and track patient interactions and enables the pharmacist to more effectively deliver interventions to help improve medication use. At NACDS, we announced new enhancements to several modules included on our platform.

The first is our Omnicell Medication Therapy Management (MTM), a CMS-compliant solution that provides a highly efficient way to deliver MTM services. MTM is known to help improve patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs, which are important goals for pharmacy chains seeking payer channel expansion and increased profits beyond Medicare Part D.

Next, our Omnicell Targeted Patient Interventions are tailored to the 53 million U.S. patients recently diagnosed with a chronic condition, as this program provides proactive outreach methods at the right time to high-value, at-risk patients, helping drive improved adherence and outcomes.

Our Omnicell Medication Synchronization Health Plan Dashboard is a dashboard that gives pharmacies that use our Omnicell Med Sync better performance visibility and the ability to filter by health plan to identify additional patients eligible for enrollment in medication synchronization.

Lastly, Omnicell Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an enhanced hosted IVR that improves the patient experience when calling the pharmacy.

Q: What role do pharmacists play in medication adherence, and how does Omnicell focus on improving medication adherence?

A: Patient outcomes are often the result of what individuals do when they are away from their care providers, which includes their pharmacist. This is why pharmacists use a variety of methods to improve medication adherence, each of which is supported by the Omnicell Patient Engagement platform: medication management, drug therapy problem resolution, side effect avoidance, regimen simplification, patient education, increased follow-up appointments, reminder calls, texts or e-mails, medication synchronization, and improved administration systems, such as multi-med blister cards. Leveraging a pharmacy platform that provides easy access to an integrated set of outcomes can extend the pharmacist’s reach into the home.

Research has been able to find that these kinds of interventions work to improve patient medication adherence. For example, results from the STOMPP study demonstrated that multi-med blister packaging combined with synchronizing medications is far superior for increasing adherence rates as compared to the conventional pill bottle, even for patients outside of long-term care facilities. MTM services increase adherence rates as well, just to a lesser degree than blister packaging. For better overall improvements to patient health, pharmacies should utilize all three services: multi-med blister packaging, medication synchronization, and MTM.

In addition to improving adherence, a Harvard med sync study showed that patients enrolled in med sync had 9% lower rates of hospitalization and emergency department visits than patients not enrolled in med sync.

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