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Author: Candace DeMatteis

Implementation change package details “how to” for pharmacists’ process of care in community pharmacy care management

Today’s community pharmacist fills more than prescriptions, they also fill gaps in care for people with complex health needs.  Often medications are the “go to” resource for managing chronic illnesses.  Often people daily care involves multiple medications that make compliance a challenge even for people committed to following regimens to the letter.  When that doesn’t happen or other regimens conflict, problems can quickly arise that compromise health.

In fact, medication-related problems and mismanagement result in an estimated 1.5 million preventable adverse events each year, adding $177 billion in costs linked to avoidable injury, hospitalizations, and even death. “There’s a spotlight on prescription drug prices currently, but not as much of a focus on how to maximize the benefits of medicines while lowering overall costs from medication overuse, underuse, and misuse.  Community pharmacists have the clinical expertise and accessibility to make a significant difference,” said Stefanie Ferreri, Pharm.D., clinical professor in the Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Ferreri is part of a research team at the Center for Medication Optimization through Practice and Policy at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.  The Center recently released a new guide detailing the “how to” for pharmacists developing a care management program.

Developed and tested in the trenches with the 273 pharmacies in the North Carolina Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) in partnership with Community Care of North Carolina, the change package provides the step-by-step details pharmacies need to adopt the best practices shown to deliver on the promise of pharmacy care management.

Shifts in healthcare financing to paying for value instead of the volume of services and the need to engage patients to achieve better outcomes are driving an evolution in pharmacy practice. “Our experience shows that when done well, pharmacy care management delivers better results for our patients and lowers the total costs of care,” explained Ferreri.

The change package focuses on the changes that need to occur within the community pharmacy to improve clinical outcomes for patients and the quality of care.  It is designed to help community pharmacists implement process changes that lead to measurable improvements.  “The idea is for pharmacies to start small, assess, adjust, and tweak or build new processes that allow them to fulfill the core components of care management,” Ferreri explained.  “At the Center, we’re focused on not just documenting what works, but making that knowledge available in ways that ease adoption, as well.”

The Center for Medication Optimization through Practice and Policy (Twitter: @UNC_CMOPP) at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy brings diverse stakeholders together to create impactful, real-world research, generate evidence, disseminate best practices and advance education to integrate medication optimization into value-based care delivery and payment models.

Review the change package online here and follow the Center for Medication Optimization for Practice and Policy (@UNC_CMOPP) online for additional research announcements.



Funding and Coauthors

Development of the change package was supported by Grant Number 1C1CMS331338 by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The contents of the publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies.

The coauthors are:

Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education (PACE)

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Stefanie Ferreri, PharmD, CDE, BCACP, FAPhA

Chelsea Phillips Renfro, PharmD


Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC)

Ashley Branham, PharmD, BCACP

Joe Moose, PharmD

Trista Pfeiffenberger, PharmD, MS

Neil Williams, PharmD, CPP


Department of Health Policy and Management

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Christopher Shea, PhD, MA, MPA

Kea Turner, MPH, MA

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