The affiliated companies of Community Care of North Carolina, Inc., along with GlaxoSmithKline and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy intend to develop, implement, and test new approaches to care delivery with the goal of helping lower health-care costs through better use of medicines.
While the health-care sector continues to evolve into a system focused on rewarding quality of care, it has yet to master one of the most influential factors affecting our nation’s health: medication management.
“There is a clear need to improve the effectiveness and safety of medication use if we are to significantly improve health-care quality in the U.S.,” says Robert A. Blouin, PharmD, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “This collaboration will allow the School’s faculty and researchers to play an integral role in helping to define and evaluate best practices and train pharmacists to effectively implement new models of care.”
The intent of this collaboration is to focus on generating new and innovative approaches to care delivery through the pharmacist that could serve as a model for payers and health-care providers interested in optimizing medication use as part of a holistic approach to managing patients’ health.
“Pharmacists’ practices will change significantly in the next three to five years,” says CCNC, Inc. President and CEO L. Allen Dobson, Jr., MD. “We see tremendous potential in pharmacists becoming integral members of a multidisciplinary team of health-care professionals focused on the overall needs of the patient.
“This approach is particularly helpful for complex patients taking numerous prescription medicines. Our research shows that pharmacists have frequent, face-to-face contact with patients, far more than even physicians. This alliance will help show that close patient-pharmacist relationships coordinated with the patient’s physician are indeed valuable to our health-care system, and can help to improve quality and lower costs.”
The approach centers on establishing patient-centered medical homes, virtual homes for an individual’s health care that provide patients with a single point-of-contact to help coordinate their medical care, arrange care with other caregivers when necessary, and house electronic health records.
Initial projects on which the partners plan to collaborate include:
- First in Health – Operational since 2012, this program offers North Carolina–based GSK employees the option of a primary care medical home similar to that pioneered by CCNC in the public sector. In 2014 a comprehensive medication management initiative was added to the medical home program. CCNC will provide care management and work with GSK on analyzing data to tailor care to employees’ needs, while the School will measure, evaluate, and help refine best practices in medication management and care delivery.
- Care Triage – While many researchers are evaluating the power of “big data,” CCNC and GSK in a prior collaboration developed Care Triage, a health-information technology tool that attempts to provide similar insights with a smaller data set that is available to far more providers, including small provider organizations in rural areas. Through the use of Care Triage, CCNC, GSK and the School will define the use of “small data” in pharmacies to help identify patients at risk for hospitalization and drug therapy problems and provide pharmacists with new tools and resources to efficiently deliver comprehensive medication management services to appropriate patients at the right time with the right interventions.
By taking a holistic, coordinated approach to patient care, these initiatives complement the move in U.S. health care away from volume-based care to valued-based, patient-focused care.
“Mounting evidence shows that improved use of medicines results in better health outcomes while also helping to control other health care costs,” say Jack Bailey, senior vice president, policy, payers, and vaccines at GSK. “During a time when budgets are constrained and health-care costs are rising, this work could yield promising results in helping contain costs. We are excited to begin testing new ways to improve patient engagement and hands-on care management that could help keep disease under control and patients out of the emergency room.”
About Community Care of North Carolina, Inc.
Through community-based, public-private partnerships, CCNC, Inc. and its affiliates provides population management and supports “medical homes” for 1.3 million Medicaid beneficiaries, individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, privately-insured employees and uninsured people. CCNC, Inc. is working to bring the benefits of population management, intelligent data use and patient-centered medical homes to other states and populations while expanding resources available to the organization in pursuit of its charitable mission.
GSK, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.