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The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (ESOP) convened pharmacists, providers, health systems, and payer groups to uncover priorities, needs, and gaps in NC population health management on November 15, 2022, in Chapel Hill, NC. A list of organizations who participated in the catalyst event can be found in illustration one.

The vision of the catalyst event series is to establish North Carolina as a leading example of state-wide collaboration to expand the reach and adoption of patient care services that optimize medication use and improve health for patients throughout the state.

To better understand key strengths and needs of the participating organizations, the Alliance for Integrated Medication Management (AIMM) and ESOP conducted pre-event interviews to identify key principles and areas of focus for the event. These principles and areas of focus can be found in illustration two.

Three principles identified were 1) put the patient as the center, 2) focus on what we can control and 3) establish the fact that pharmacists, payers and providers need each other.

Patient-Centered Quote: “If we can break down a few barriers that make life harder for patients, even if they are small, this will be a success.”

Six areas of focus were uncovered from the interviews that focused on three critical themes:

  • Relational (building trust and relationships, articulating the value)
  • Care Delivery (developing effective, scalable models and closing critical care gaps)
  • Value Exchange (sharing data and generating funding agreements)

Effective Models of Care Quote: “Small-medium practice groups likely can’t justify in-house pharmacy services, so a partnership between medical clinic and community pharmacy can create efficiency for managing multiple dimensions of complex patients.”

Attendees were acclimated to the principles and areas of focus collected from the interviews. Attendees then voted for two areas of focus that they wanted to discuss further in small groups. The areas receiving the most votes were effective, scalable models of care and generating funding arrangements. Small group discussions produced opportunities and concept proposals that meet the needs of patients and all organizations.

The concept proposals included expanding provider partnerships with community pharmacy, health systems developing population health strategies in the rural and underserved areas, and health plans engagement around growing health equity programs. Specific concepts identified below directly align with and support medication optimization policy development in North Carolina:

  • Regional health plan suggested a pilot to connect community physicians with pharmacy services, either embedded, remote, or community, to enhance medication management services
  • National health plan suggested expanding a pilot where community pharmacies are screening patients with behavioral health needs to address social determinants of health
  • Large health system ACO stated a need to engage payers for equitable reimbursement for pharmacist services and is open to risk based contracting with community pharmacies
  • Large health system ACO stated interest in developing a community pharmacy network to engage at risk patient populations
  • Provider-based ACO stated interest in partnering with community pharmacy in a risk based shared savings program
  • Several payer and health system participants shared a desire to partner with pharmacy to better manage drug costs (price vs utilization)

These ideas and concepts created in the first event will be further developed into scalable and sustainable models at the next Medication Optimization Catalyst event, scheduled for March 8, 2023.

AIMM Quote: What transpired on November 15th was a great example of how bringing together the right stakeholders and giving them space to innovate produces immediate results. We are very excited to continue working with UNC and these stakeholders to move from concept to scale-up over the coming months.”

Illustration 1


Illustration 2

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