TPA said it was awarded a grant from the Community Pharmacy Foundation (CPF) and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to develop and deploy a system, include support resources and a business infrastructure, that digitally links health care providers with community pharmacists. The solution will enable doctors to refer patients with uncontrolled hypertension to a network of pharmacists who can provide medication services to help improve their health outcomes and rein in their medical costs.
Pharmacists, too, will use the referral system to communicate with patients, submit claims and receive payment.
Clinic and hospital physicians will identify patients for adherence-focused services and notify pharmacists using a bidirectional referral system. Pharmacists will provide an initial medication reconciliation, with follow-up monitoring over two months. Patients who need a home blood pressure monitoring kit will receive one at no charge courtesy of Microlife USA, TPA said.
On the technology side, the project will implement a secure, cloud-based interoperable workflow platform that connects pharmacists, physicians, patients, hospitals, clinics and other health providers. According to TPA, the solution brings “world-class” security protocols, patient engagement apps, pharmacy systems and eletronic medical record (EMR) integration into one appointment-based platform.
Rachel Sharpton of the University of Texas Tyler College of Pharmacy is serving as the principal investigator for the project grant, with support from Kim Roberson, director of pharmacy practice for the Texas Pharmacy Association.
The referral network will position community pharmacists as part of the local community health care team, TPA noted, adding that in some regions access to care may expand as pharmacists develop practice sites apart from brick-and-mortar pharmacies.
The project’s first phase will integrate a network of 13 community pharmacists from eight pharmacy employers into clinics, hospitals and provider offices. Over the long term, the project aims to establish a virtual network in cities across Texas, TPA said.
Pharmacist fees are uniquely structured for the project and will reflect the services that pharmacists’ provide in helping patients receive intended outcomes, TPA reported. Besides a base payment, pharmacists will receive a bonus payment for each patient that reaches and maintains a treatment goal.
Patient referrals begin this month and will include up to 180 patients from three communities: Wichita Falls, Tyler and Jasper, Texas. TPA said it expects referrals to conclude by June, with results becoming available in October.