Help for Patients Managing Medications

Medication Therapy Tools enable pharmacists to help patients understand and correctly manage their medications. Patients with chronic illnesses face a number of challenges managing their day-to-day and long term health, in part because medications are complex, confusing, costly, and potentially dangerous. The problem is that today pharmacists often have little time to provide education about a specific prescription.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) https://www. ahrq.gov an agency within HHS has developed tools that pharmacists can use with patients in person or perform a medication review and consultation using telehealth for an urgent care situation. They can also connect to Care Management Teams to provide medication consultations when caring for the chronically ill.

AHRQ’s tool provides a Comprehensive Medication Review (CMR) which is designed to improve patients’ knowledge of their prescriptions, OTC medications, herbal therapies and dietary supplements, identify and address problems or concerns, and empower patients to self-manage their medications and health conditions.

SinfoniaRx https://sinfoniarx.com was founded to optimize medication use and help improve the health of patients with chronic illness through their Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program.

During 2016, SinfoniaRx competed more than 1.1 million interventions and saved nearly $243 million in estimated healthcare costs while working with patients to effectively manage their medication intake and are reviewed after each consultation. The company provides measureable outcomes for all MTM programs.

AHRQ’s tools are incorporated into all of SinfoniaRx’s training and call script materials. For example, all staff members are trained to assess for health literacy and to use simple, clear instructions and language with patients. The company’s clinical call scripts include the teach-back method, adherence counseling techniques derived from AHRQ tools, open-ended questions, and strategies to address language barriers.

While SinfoniaRx primarily works with clinical call centers providing medication therapy management from four national sites, the company also works to establish integrated clinical pharmacy services in a variety of settings.

These services include a hospital discharge program, integrated behavioral health clinics, accountable care organizations, and patient-centered medical homes. Telehealth and other strategies using technology also help to provide medication management resources to communities, clinicians, and patients.

Go to https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/case-studies/201714.html  for the case study.

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