Project focuses on pharmacists as crux of patient care team
Called the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN), the project aims to develop a system to enable health care providers and pharmacies to devise care plans for patients that can be updated and shared electronically. A linchpin of the effort is using current electronic medical record (EMR) standards adopted by health providers to foster interoperability.
The pilot is supported by Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) — which is facilitating collaboration of health information technology (HIT) and pharmacy management providers — and the National Community Pharmacists Association.
“QS/1 will provide the portal within our pharmacy management systems to allow pharmacists to develop the care plan and then share it with health care providers,” stated Ed Vess, senior manager of market analysts at QS/1 and president of the South Carolina Pharmacy Association. “This additional documentation will allow all involved to see the progress or any setbacks in the patient’s health.”
CPESN will provide targeted services to an eligible population of more than 3 million Medicaid, Medicare and dual-eligible recipients. Pharmacists will use the system to share care plans electronically and improve care coordination. CCNC will receive the care plans and use electronic health record (EHR)-ready, standardized data to gauge quality of care and manage payment for enhanced services offerings.
Shifting to interoperable care plan that connects pharmacists with other clinicians is expected to reduce redundant data entry, improve structural consistency of care plans, and facilitate the exchange of pharmacy clinical information with other members of the patient’s care team.
“QS/1 is constantly looking for ways to help improve patient care,” Vess added. “This program being tested across North Carolina is a unique opportunity to validate the important role pharmacists play in the lives of patients.”
The project combines the efforts of five pharmacy management systems: QS/1, Computer-Rx, PioneerRx, RX30, VIP Pharmacy Systems and Creative Pharmacist. That will allow pharmacy staff to document records in their own system to simplify and streamline their workload, as well as document their role in population health management, according to CCNC.
“We are thrilled to help accelerate community-based pharmacy care coordination efforts by integrating their activities with the rest of the care team,” commented Troy Trygstad, vice president of pharmacy programs for CCNC. “As an organization focused on providing wrap-around support for primary care, we see high demand for efficient and effective exchange of care plans and associated information between pharmacies, practices and other care team members. CPESN networks will greatly aid in that effort.”
The payment for enhanced services is part of a three-year cooperative agreement funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to test new reimbursement models for community pharmacies serving Medicaid, Medicare and NC Health Choice beneficiaries.