Cardinal Health Inc. is offering a new solution to lend retail pharmacies a hand with one of the pharmacist's core objectives: getting patients to stick to their medication regimens.

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Cardinal Health serves up MTM solution for pharmacies

June 4th, 2014

DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health Inc. is offering a new solution to lend retail pharmacies a hand with one of the pharmacist's core objectives: getting patients to stick to their medication regimens.

The pharmaceutical distributor said Wednesday it has launched the Medication Therapy Management Solution, an MTM program that positions Cardinal Health to work seamlessly with each participating pharmacy's patients to ensure they are on the right medications, using them the right way and getting the desired results.

According to Cardinal, the new solution stems from a successful pilot program involving more than 180 retail pharmacies, which delivered almost four times the number of comprehensive medication reviews as the industry average.

"No one is better positioned than a community pharmacist to help patients improve medication adherence, reduce medication errors and improve health outcomes related to medication use," Brad Tice, product leader of Cardinal Health's Medication Therapy Management Solution, said in a statement. "Our goal is to make it as easy and time-efficient as possible for pharmacies to deliver the MTM services that address these important patient needs."

Through the solution, Cardinal Health licensed pharmacists certified in MTM work directly with a retail pharmacy's eligible patients to perform a comprehensive medication review. Then the Cardinal Health pharmacists — acting as an extension of the retail pharmacy's team — share the results of the review with the patient's pharmacy in the form of a Medication Action Plan, which allows the pharmacy to work with the patient and the patient's other health care providers to implement the recommended changes.

Next, the patient and the pharmacy receive a patient-specific Medication Action Plan that can be implemented locally. It highlights recommended changes in therapy, adherence issues that must be addressed through clinical intervention, suggestions for medications the patient should consider taking or stop taking, and opportunities for generic drug substitutions. The medication review also identifies other opportunities for retail pharmacies to meet the individualized health needs of each patient, such as recommended immunizations, services to improve cardiovascular health or ways to help patients with diabetes manage their condition.

Tice noted that one issue preventing many pharmacists from delivering MTM services is reimbursement. Currently, Medicare Part D reimburses pharmacists for delivering MTM services, but only a small percentage of enrollees are eligible.

"Right now, retail pharmacies are caught in a bit of a Catch-22. They can only be reimbursed for delivering MTM services to a very small percentage of the population, and it can be a challenge to find enough eligible patients to make it truly viable," he explained. "On the other hand, if they want to be included in payers' quality performance networks, retail pharmacies need to demonstrate their ability to positively impact patient care. One of the best ways to do that is to deliver MTM services to as many eligible patients as possible."

Overall, Cardinal Health serves more than 8,000 independent pharmacies and thousands of chain drug stores. The company reported that, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the United States could save as much as $200 billion each year — or 8% of total health care spending — by improving the way patients take and manage medications.

"This solution is a win for patients, for pharmacists, for payers and for the broader health care system," Tice added. "It helps improve patient outcomes and reduces unnecessary health care costs, saves retail pharmacists valuable time, and strengthens the very important relationship between retail pharmacies and their patients."