Ives patient doc
Pharmacist and professor Tim Ives, Pharm.D., (center) consults with a Christopher Klipstein, M.D. (right) to optimize the medication regimen of a UNC Health Care patient (left).

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy to study the implementation of comprehensive medication management in primary-care medical practices to improve results for patients.

Comprehensive medication management focuses on patients and all the medications they are taking. Each medication is regularly assessed for appropriateness, effectiveness, safety and convenience. CMM includes an individualized care plan developed by the health-care team and the patient to achieve the goals of the therapy.

The award comes from the ACCP and the ACCP Research Institute and funds a collaboration between the School and the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management. Mary Roth McClurg, Pharm.D., M.H.S., an associate professor in the School’s Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, is the principal investigator on the grant.

The award will facilitate the creation of a multistate practice and research laboratory to study best practices in comprehensive medication management across 45 primary-care medical practices located mostly in North Carolina and Minnesota but also in four other states.

“While we aim to provide evidence demonstrating the impact of CMM on patient care, our goal is to demonstrate how CMM works, how to incorporate it into busy medical practices and how to pay for it.” Roth McClurg said. “Throughout the project, we will share what we learn nationally and with multiple stakeholders for adoption and scale.”

Mary Roth McClurg, Pharm.D., M.H.S.
Mary Roth McClurg, Pharm.D., M.H.S.

The research project aims to answer a number of fundamental questions about comprehensive medication management in primary-care medical practices, including:

  • Which patients and populations within primary-care practices benefit the most from CMM? Are those in greatest need receiving CMM, and if so, what are best practices around the patient encounter, including frequency of follow-up?
  • Among those who receive CMM, what is the effect on quality of care and the patient experience?
  • Which quality performance metrics are most relevant to today’s primary-care medical practices, and what are the contributions of the clinical pharmacist to helping the practice achieve those metrics?
  • How should CMM be delivered, replicated, scaled and sustained?
  • What is the return on investment to the primary-care medical practice from having a clinical pharmacist in the clinic?
  • As health care shifts from fee-for-service to value-based care delivery, how does the health-care team best optimize medication use to ensure high quality care?

“On behalf of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and our collaborators, we are honored to receive this award,” Roth McClurg said. “This work is timely and very much needed to advance the safe and effective use of medications in alignment with national efforts to improve health care in this country. We are grateful for the generous support provided by ACCP and the ACCP Research Institute and look forward to conducting this important work.”

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