As we start a new year at CMOPP and mark our second anniversary, I’m excited not only by what lies ahead in 2018, but also by how much we accomplished that has set 2018 up for success. Our focus to work collaboratively with health care stakeholders, to utilize the rigor and credibility of academic research to generate rapid-cycle results, and to inform health care delivery was on full display in 2017. It’s impossible to capture everything that’s happened in a blog, so I’m going to stick with the highlights.
Collaboration is a central tenet of the CMOPP’s efforts and was readily evident in events from the beginning through the end of 2017. Our participation in the Business of Healthcare Convocation in January 2017 was a great kick-off to the year. The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC hosted the Business of Healthcare Convocation to showcase innovative work occurring within UNC’s top-notch schools of pharmacy, medicine, nursing, and public health and to explore new, collaborative research opportunities. The convocation solidified existing connections and facilitated making others. For example, the May edition of the North Carolina Medical Journal, featured an article I co-authored with UNC School of Medicine’s Darren DeWalt about the importance of inter-professional education and team-based care practice.
Several Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty were featured presenters at the American Pharmacists Association “TED-Talk” meeting on the future of pharmacy. Speakers included former UNC faculty Joel Farley, who also authored a featured CMOPP blog on paying for value in pharmacy care.
In November, CMOPP joined colleagues from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, London School of Pharmacy, and Monash University (in Australia) for a global summit on the future of pharmacy. Over the course of two days, we examined challenges both unique to our different nations and common among pharmacists and identified opportunities to work collaboratively to promote the profession today and in the future.
In all our efforts, it’s critically important to remember the patient and family caregivers and all that pharmacy can offer to them. This year, I co-authored a commentary with Brenda Shipley, a daughter caring for her elderly mother who shared her experience with misdiagnoses, medication problems, and multiple hospitalizations. The integral need for a pharmacist’s expertise as a hub for medication-related issues was on full display.
CMOPP recognizes the great need for value-driven solutions in health care, and our research brings the expertise and credibility of academic research to test solutions and deliver rapid-cycle results readily adaptable to everyday practice. For example, CMOPP’s Carrie Blanchard and Melanie Livet joined Mary Roth McClurg to co-author an article highlighting the use of implementation science in designing and testing a medication management intervention within primary care. Stefanie Ferreri published an informational guide detailing pharmacy care management “how to” based on the experiences of Community Care of North Carolina and the NC Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network that’s being shared broadly.
Our efforts are also purposefully aimed at informing policy changes and care delivery. We developed and published a white paper on medication optimization opportunities within Medicaid, as policymakers at the state and federal level debate Medicaid reforms. We also continued to tap into the expertise of our Payer Policy Advisory Board to help inform research CMOPP’s Mary Roth McClurg is leading to define best practices of pharmacists working within primary care clinics.
We also relied on our research to make recommendations to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation about medication optimization opportunities and greater utilization of pharmacists in team-based care. These comments were in response to CMMI’s Request for Information on a new direction for the agency.
Last, but certainly not least, we continue to educate and empower future pharmacists by not only preparing them for their clinical responsibilities, but also for the importance of understanding their roles in the broader health care context. In our US Health Care class, for example, we feature outside experts, such as NC Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Estay Greene, IBM’s Don Turner, and innovative practicing pharmacist, Adam Wolfe.
As I look ahead, 2018 will be a watershed year with much to follow, including:
- A NC Medical Journal commentary on a fresh approach to drug spending co-authored with leading health economist Ken Thorpe (February 2018)
- A new “how to” guide on implementing medication synchronization within community pharmacy and complementary info graphics (First quarter 2018)
- Summit at UNC to feature results of the 3-year American Colleges of Clinical Pharmacy grant work on embedding pharmacists in primary care clinics (Spring 2018)
- Publication of a series of commentaries on the evolving role of pharmacists within value-based care models (late Spring/Summer 2018)
- Pursuing solutions to opioid crisis, including one identified by award-winning pharmacy/public health UNC student competition proposal (2018)