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Catalyst Series: Optimizing Medication Use (OMU)

December 7, 2023

As a follow-up to the UNC catalyst events, we would like to keep the conversation going by highlighting participant examples of collaborative pharmacy practice models… Continued.

Catalyst Series: IndyCare TCM Collaborative Model

November 9, 2023

As a follow-up to the UNC catalyst events, we would like to keep the conversation going by highlighting participant examples of collaborative pharmacy practice models… Continued.

Catalyst Series: UNC Hospitals and CPESN Transitions of Care Partnership

October 24, 2023

As a follow-up to the UNC catalyst events, we would like to keep the conversation going by highlighting participant examples of collaborative pharmacy practice models… Continued.

Catalyst Series: Optimizing Medication Delivery and Adherence through our MAC Pack Program

September 26, 2023

As a follow-up to the UNC catalyst events, we would like to keep the conversation going by highlighting participant examples of collaborative pharmacy practice models… Continued.

Catalyst Series: Expanding Comprehensive Medication Reviews Offerings

September 12, 2023

As a follow-up to the UNC catalyst events, we would like to keep the conversation going by highlighting participant examples of collaborative pharmacy practice models… Continued.

March Medication Optimization Catalyst Event Summary

August 29, 2023

By Jon Easter and Stefanie Ferreri On March 8, 2023, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy convened pharmacists, providers, health systems, and payer groups in Chapel Hill, NC to continue discussing priorities…  Continued.

Meet the pharmacies at the forefront of behavioral health care!

August 7, 2023

By Courtney Humphries and Lori Armistead  Mental illnesses – such as depression and anxiety – have been on the rise in the United States for decades. During the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining mental…Continued.

Medication Optimization Catalyst Event

December 19, 2022

By Jon Easter and Stefanie Ferreri The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP) convened pharmacists, providers, health systems, and payer groups to uncover priorities, needs, and gaps…  Continued.

Meeting in the Middle: A Top-Down Bottom-Up Approach to Value-Based Care

September 15, 2022

By Tazche L. Turner Value-based care delivery models are not just limited to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), health systems and health plans…  Continued.

Cardiovascular disease management in community-based pharmacies: How pharmacists can make a difference

June 16, 2022

By Jessica S. Roller In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women across most racial and ethnic groups. About 659,000 people in the United States… Continued.

Community-based pharmacists and diabetes: A new approach to screening and patient education

April 11, 2022

By Courtney Humphries Uncontrolled diabetes is on the rise in America, according to an analysis recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.1 This is alarming as diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can have devastating effects on the body, leading … Continued.

Providing Patient-Centered, Quality-Driven Care in Community Pharmacies

March 4, 2022

By: Melanie Livet, Tashani Gaskins, and Chloe Richard *This is a republished article. Names and titles have been updated as applicable.*  One of the most pressing challenges confronting the United States (US) healthcare system is delivering high-value, effective clinical interventions … Continued.

Community pharmacists’ perceptions of acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of a value-based care model for comprehensive medication management

July 13, 2021

HealthPartners is an integrated health plan offering comprehensive medication management (CMM) under a value-based care model called Partners in Excellence (PIE). In PIE, participating organizations are incentivized to conduct CMM visits and are eligible for bonus payments if they achieve quality and engagement metrics. Semi-structured, one-on-one qualitative interviews were conducted with a group of 14 pharmacists and pharmacy managers to evaluate the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of the PIE program from their perspective… Continued.

Pharmacist Role in Addressing Social Determinants of Health during COVID-19

June 30, 2021

COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact on our economy, our healthcare system, and the well-being of our citizens. It has become increasingly apparent that COVID-19 not only strains the existing healthcare infrastructure but also exacerbates health disparities across America. Social determinants of health (SDOH) “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes,” contribute to many of those disparities… Continued.

Expansion of Coverage for Continuous Glucose Monitors Creates Opportunities for Real-world Evidence Generation

June 10, 2021

In the United States, approximately 34.2 million people of all ages have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the prevalence of this diagnosis continues to increase annually. Patients who achieve glucose control have a lower risk of acute complications, yet only half of patients with diabetes are able to achieve this control with a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) less than 7%. Even just a 1% increase in HbA1c is associated with a 40% increase in cardiovascular or ischemic heart disease mortalityContinued.

New Role for Community Pharmacy in Mental Health Screening and Treatment

May 19, 2021

Community pharmacies are increasing their role in mental health treatment. Some pharmacies have started offering screening and referral to mental health treatment services to increase access to care. In fact, in 2016, Walgreens announced their partnership with Mental Health America and launched an “answer center” on Walgreens’ website to connect people to MHA’s Online Screening Program. The program offers free online screenings for several different mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Walgreens is also helping patients find therapy appointments with their web platform Walgreens Find Care… Continued.

What strategies can help you successfully implement a new pharmacy service?

May 14, 2021

Medication problems (i.e., overuse, underuse, and misuse) are a significant burden to the U.S. healthcare system, leading to high financial costs and poor patient outcomes. Suboptimal medication use plays a role in 275,000 deaths, and costs $500 billion in excess healthcare costs each year.1 To address this, a variety of pharmacist-delivered medication optimization services exist to help improve patient care, including Medication Therapy Management (MTM), Comprehensive Medication Reviews (CMRs), and Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM)… Continued.

Increasing Access to Screening and Support in Community Pharmacies Could Help Address the Mental Health Crisis in America

May 11, 2021

The importance of addressing mental health has grown increasingly evident as more people report negative mental health symptoms in recent years. In 2017-2018, 19% of adults experienced symptoms of a mental illness, over 1.5 million more people than the previous year.1 The most common types of mental illnesses in the United States (U.S.) are depression and anxiety… Continued.

Tips for Success from the Collaborative: The Coaches’ Perspective

May 4, 2021

Slice of PIE takes its name from the “Partners in Excellence” (PIE) program, which recognizes outstanding contributions to patient health within a defined health plan.  Slice of PIE is a separate but related research and learning collaborative, supporting community pharmacists in their efforts to improve patient health through chronic care management and optimized medication use… Continued.

Selecting Innovative, Patient-Centered Interventions for the Community Pharmacy Setting: A Four Step Process

March 25, 2021

Through the Community-based Value-driven Care Initiative (CVCI),the Center for Medication Optimization is working to explore and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of four patient-centered, quality-driven care interventions delivered in community pharmacies. But first, the four innovative clinical interventions had to be selected. So, you may be curious, which four clinical interventions were chosen? Why these ones in particular? How were they picked over the many other possible interventions offered in community pharmacies? Were they selected at random? Maybe alphabetically? Let us find out!… Continued.

First of Its Kind Questionnaire Available to Measure Implementation Outcomes in Pharmacy

Feb. 18, 2021

Imagine that you are charged with implementing a new service for your patients. One of your top priorities is ensuring the service is delivered in a way that all of your patients can fully benefit. To optimize its impact, you would first need to ensure that this service is implemented with both consistency and quality. Not only would you need to think through your implementation strategy, but you also need to consider how to measure and monitor implementation success to understand your implementation progress and make the necessary adjustments… Continued.

Providing Patient-Centered, Quality-Driven Care in Community Pharmacies

Feb. 16, 2021

One of the most pressing challenges confronting the United States (US) healthcare system is delivering high-value, effective clinical interventions that improve health outcomes for patients. There has been a recent shift toward a value-based, also known as quality-based, healthcare approach that represents a tremendous opportunity to improve patient care through the creation of innovative care delivery models. To foster and advance these new models of care, it is key to explore ways to improve patient access to care and scalability of interventions… Continued.

Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure – The Patient and Pharmacist Team

Jan. 27, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the ability to provide in-person Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM) services and therefore made it more difficult for pharmacists to collect the clinical data needed from their patients. For example, gathering blood pressure data generally could not be completed in the pharmacy for most sites during CMM visits… Continued.

Remote Delivery of Comprehensive Medication Management Services – An Interview with the Clinical Pharmacists

Dec. 15, 2020

Clinical pharmacists, Dr. Jeremy Thomas and Dr. Alyssa Lee, are currently providing Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM) services via telehealth to patients with diabetes in eight clinics in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina and Arkansas. These services are being offered as part of the CMM in Telehealth project awarded to UNC CMO and UAMS Center for Implementation Science. The project aims to implement and evaluate remote delivery of CMM for complex patients with diabetes in rural communities… Continued.

Prescription Drug Importation as a Means to Reduce Costs

Dec. 1, 2020

Per capita, prescription drug costs in the US are the highest among all countries.1 High costs have a direct impact on access: 79% of patients find prescription drug costs unreasonable and 25% have difficulty affording their medications.2,3 Barriers to access in the form of high prescription drug costs lead to decreased medication adherence and poorer health outcomes… Continued.

Expanding Medication Optimization Into Patient Homes

Oct. 20, 2020

Rural populations report significantly poorer healthcare quality, partly due to limited healthcare resources, including pharmacy services[1]. COVID19 further exacerbated this access gap, highlighting an even greater need to protect vulnerable patients with multiple comorbidities. Telemedicine has been identified as an effective option to deliver patient care. Remote delivery of pharmacy services provides an opportunity to care for patients who would otherwise not have access… Continued.

Achieving High Fidelity to Ensure High Quality Patient Care

Oct. 13, 2020

Ensuring consistency in patient-centered delivery of comprehensive medication management (CMM) across the 12 organizations and over 30 pharmacists is one of the most important components to Slice of PIE. To determine the extent to which the CMM patient care process is delivered consistently, the Slice of PIE initiative utilizes implementation strategies to ensure fidelity, which is defined as the degree to which the service is implemented as intended… Continued.

Motivation to Participate in the Collaborative: The Pharmacists’ Perspective

Aug. 24, 2020

The HealthPartners Partners in Excellence (PIE) program provides an opportunity to sustainably provide direct patient care, expand patient-centered care approaches and expand access to care through community pharmacies. Pharmacists in the PIE program were invited to participate in the Slice of PIE initiative to facilitate the development of innovative ideas to adjust care models for patients and to share resources and identify areas of improvement within the CMM Patient Care Process delivered in the community pharmacy… Continued.

Biosimilar Access to Reduce Biologic Spending in the United States: A Policy Brief

July 10, 2020

Biosimilars were initially projected to save as much as $150B in the specialty pharmaceuticals market. However, product launches have not kept pace with approvals, and numerous barriers to entry have become apparent. Some examples include financial disincentives for providers to administer biosimilars over originator products; lack of provider understanding of the efficacy, safety, and interchangeability of biosimilars; and finally, anticompetitive strategies employed by manufacturers to subvert biosimilar access. This combination of challenges makes launching a biosimilar product difficult… Continued.

All Teach, All Learn to Impact Health Across the Community

June 25, 2020

In Slice of PIE, 12 community pharmacy organizations representing over 100 pharmacies in Minnesota are working together to improve individual health and demonstrate economic value through engaging at least 1,000 patients in an initial and at least one follow up pharmacist medication therapy management (MTM) encounter by December 31, 2020. It takes the knowledge and experiences of everyone participating in the learning and action collaborative to reach this bold goal by the end of 2020… Continued.

Implementation science is vital to the success of Slice of PIE

May 18, 2020

“What does implementation science (IS) have to do with PIE?” We’re so glad you asked! Though it has less to do with the delicious culinary creation than one might like, it will be vital to the success of the Slice of PIE initiative. Implementation science is defined as the study and application of strategies that promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine use… Continued.

With coronavirus pandemic complexity abounds, solutions are on the horizon

May 5, 2020

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading across the globe, the U.S. was already facing an epidemic in healthcare that was spreading, costly, and ultimately unsustainable relative to healthcare spending. That epidemic is the incidence of chronic disease. … Continued

A value-based program between health plan and pharmacy practitioners

May 5, 2020

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and HealthPartners have formed a partnership to facilitate a learning and action collaborative around the delivery of medication therapy management (MTM) services for HealthPartners Partners in Excellence Program (PIE). … Continued

A Partnership to Optimize Medications, Create Value and Transform Practice

March 31, 2020

For 13 Minnesota community pharmacy organizations, “Slice of PIE” is also the name of a learning collaborative, which comprises one of two novel strategies in a project supporting community pharmacist efforts to improve medication use in chronic care management. … Continued

From Potential to Reality: Care Models that Screen for Social Determinants of Health

March 27, 2020

Our healthcare system has casually been described as a “sick care system” because it usually cares for people only after they are already sick. Medical care delivered in healthcare settings alone has a limited effect on the health of individuals and populations.  … Continued

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and HealthPartners collaborate to study medication management in community pharmacies

March 17, 2020

The University of North Carolina, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and HealthPartners seek to address public health issues surrounding taking prescription medications safely and effectively by studying medication therapy management (MTM) services in over 130 community pharmacy locations in Minnesota. … Continued

Quality Healthcare Begins at Home (Health)

January 29, 2020

Historically, reimbursement for home health services from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been largely based on volume instead of value. … Continued

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy collaborates with UNC Health Care to improve, optimize patient care

November 5, 2019

Researchers at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Medication Optimization, in collaboration with UNC Health Care’s Pharmacy Services team, are coming together to improve and optimize patient care delivery, pharmacy analytics and outcomes. … Continued

Grant Funding Helps CMO Pursue Value-Based Care and Population Health Projects

October 29, 2019

The Center for Medication Optimization (CMO) has received more than $600,000 in grant funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation to pursue new ideas spanning value-based care and population health.  … Continued

Keeping the Dream Alive: Part 1

October 7, 2019

As many of you know, or have recently been reminded, October is American Pharmacists Month. What does this mean for you? For pharmacy professionals, it may still not mean much, but to some, it is a time to celebrate our accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of our predecessors.  … Continued

Lending a helping hand – CMO offers new resource for pharmacists looking to screen for unmet social needs

October 1, 2019

Community pharmacists are well aware of how difficult it is for people to properly take their prescription medications; however, many pharmacists struggle with how to systematically uncover why.  … Continued

An Unlikely Connection – How Transportation Affects Health

July 31, 2019

In 2008 the World Health Organization created the Commission on Social Determinants of Health to awaken society to the influences of social factors on health and health inequities. Though not a new idea, the commission felt it important to bring together policy makers, researchers, and other stakeholders to gather evidence on how to achieve a more just distribution of health worldwide. … Continued

CMO Student Interns Take on Social Determinants of Health

June 19, 2019

Health is strongly impacted by the conditions in which people grow, learn, work, and live. Consider, for example, the health implications of trying to exercise in a neighborhood with no sidewalks, being unable to read a prescription drug label, or worrying that your food would run out before your next paycheck. These conditions are often referred to as social determinants of health (SDOH). … Continued

Reimbursement, Quality Performance and Community Pharmacy: New Developments

June 4, 2019

There are two fundamental problems with the US healthcare system: cost and quality. It is well-known that the US spends more than any other country on healthcare. However, less well known is that the US also has worse healthcare quality, roughly defined as the extent to which healthcare services achieve healthcare goals and match with current guidelines. … Continued

Reducing Drug Costs by Banning ‘Gag Clauses’

May 31, 2019

Drug prices in the United States (US) far exceed that of other industrialized nations. For instance, the price of the top 20 highest-revenue grossing drugs is three time more expensive in the US compared to the United Kingdom (UK). So, reducing drug prices has become a major priority for many legislators, prompting new efforts to pass bills that would make prescription medications more affordable at the counter. … Continued

Moving Beyond the 340B Program

May 20, 2019

Safety net practices, those “providers that organize and deliver a significant level of health care and other needed services to uninsured, Medicaid and other vulnerable patients,” help make up the fabric of the American health care system. [i] The delivery of these services is often compelled by institutional – and some legal – mandates to serve indigent people regardless of ability to pay. … Continued

MedOpt2019: Medication Optimization Critical to Reducing Healthcare Costs and Improving Outcomes

April 4, 2019

Often discussed but rarely understood. This is how many view the concept of “value” in healthcare. This is in part due to the complexity of improving health outcomes while simultaneously lowering overall costs, but also due to the lack of tactical knowledge in how to make value-based programs successful. … Continued

Center for Medication Optimization Receives Grant to Develop Predictive Analytics Tools

March 11, 2019

The Center for Medication Optimization (CMO) has received a $200,000 translational grant from The Eshelman Institute for Innovation, in collaboration with UNC Health Care, AlignCare Services, LLC, and Affiliate Health Plan. … Continued

Soon Doctors May Be Monitoring Your Fitbit Data

Jan. 2, 2019

In the age of convenience and connectivity, information has become accessible in quantities and at speeds that were once inconceivable. Modern technology has empowered us to virtually conduct everyday activities, from ordering food and goods to connecting instantly with friends from high school and hailing transportation right to our doors. … Continued

CMO Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Ben Urick

Nov. 19, 2018

Ben Urick is a health services researcher in the Center for Medication Optimization. Dr. Urick’s primary research focuses on the role of community pharmacists in the evolving healthcare system and the use of secondary data to measure healthcare quality and spending. … Continued

CMO Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Melanie Livet

Nov. 19, 2018

Melanie Livet is a specialist in Implementation Science working within the Center for Medication Optimization in her role as Research Assistant Professor.  Her expertise enriches research efforts at the Center from conception and development through implementation, evaluation, and reporting. … Continued

CMO Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Carrie Blanchard

Nov. 19, 2018

Carrie Blanchard is an implementation science specialist working within the Center for Medication Optimization. Her research interests focus on how to implement and scale medication optimization services and value-based care models. … Continued

Disruptive Innovation: The Reinvention, Not the Death, of Community Pharmacy

Oct. 16, 2018

October marks American Pharmacists Month and is a relevant time to reflect on the evolution of the pharmacy profession, and the advancements of healthcare practices, technologies, standards, and innovations. … Continued

Welcome to CMO — Back to School Edition

Sept. 17, 2018

Welcome back students! We are very excited to interact with those of you both new and old. … Continued

Research Optimizes Comprehensive Medication Management: Defines the Patient Care Process of CMM

July 27, 2018

The Patient Care Process for Delivering Comprehensive Medication Management (CMM) provides a common definition of … Continued

Research Reveals Inconsistent Approach to Medication Synchronization

June 21, 2018

Pharmacists across the country are adopting medication synchronization (“med sync”) programs to enable patients … Continued

Interview with Melanie Livet, PhD – The Importance of Implementation Science

April 19, 2018

Melanie Livet is a specialist in Implementation Science working within the Center for Medication Optimization in her role as Research Assistant Professor … Continued

From the desk of Jon Easter, Director, Center for Medication Optimization through Practice and Policy . . .

Jan. 19, 2018

As we start a new year at CMOPP and mark our second anniversary, I’m excited not only by what lies ahead in 2018, but also by how much we accomplished that has set 2018 up for success … Continued

Pharmacists Also Fill Care Gaps Reduce Toll of Medication Misadventures

Dec. 14, 2017

Today’s community pharmacist fills more than prescriptions, they also fill gaps in care for people with complex health needs.  Often medications are the “go to” resource for managing chronic illnesses. Often people daily care involves multiple medications that make compliance a challenge … Continued

CHRONIC Care Act and Implications for Medication Optimization

Oct. 17, 2017

The lengthy delay between research discoveries and those discoveries actually benefitting patients is well known and much lamented.  Testing cause and effect can often lead researchers to control the environment of the study to the point that … Continued

Using Implementation Science to Define and Develop Comprehensive Medication Management Best Practices

June 28, 2017

The lengthy delay between research discoveries and those discoveries actually benefitting patients is well known and much lamented.  Testing cause and effect can often lead researchers to control the environment of the study to the point that … Continued

North Carolina Medical Journal Explores Expanding Role of the Pharmacist

June 27, 2017

This month, scholars at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy joined other healthcare experts to share innovative research testing how pharmacists can address challenges in optimizing medication use and coordinating care.  The May-June edition of the North … Continued

Research Spotlight: Paying for Value to Drive Improvements in Pharmacy Performance

March 6, 2017

As insurers, employers, governments, and others who pay for health care demand greater value for their money, evaluating “value” has taken on much greater importance.  “Value” includes elements of quality and cost. Quality improvement has been … Continued

UNC School of Pharmacy Faculty Share Vision at Kenan-Flagler Business of Healthcare Convocation

January 26, 2017

On January 13, 2017, thought leaders from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy joined experts from across the UNC Chapel Hill campus to share research collaboration opportunities in the study of the Business of Healthcare. Jon Easter, Director of the Pharmacy … Continued

October 2016 Month in Review

December 20, 2016

From the desk of Jon Easter, Director, Center for Medication Optimization through Practice and Policy   Ten months ago when I started as the first ever Director of the Center for Medication Optimization through Practice and Policy, I come to … Continued


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