A Top 5 Guide: Essential Benefits of Having an MTM Partner
You’re a clinical pharmacy manager or director at a small, regional health plan. You lead a lean team of clinical pharmacists who operate a call center to deliver medication therapy management (MTM) consultations to your members. You and your team are hardworking and committed, but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to deliver the necessary volume of consultations and burnout is setting in. Finally, you’re trying to convince your chief medical officer that it’s time to partner with a new vendor to support your MTM program.
Does this situation sound familiar?
These are the types of scenarios our team hears far too often. Health plan pharmacy leaders nationwide find themselves in similar situations but the truth is, MTM programs are a key component to a high-performing value-based care strategy. Unfortunately, small or regional health plans struggle to deliver programs of a high caliber due to the expense and complexity of standing them up. That’s where an MTM partner such as Aspen RxHealth comes in.
Why you need a medication therapy management partner: By the numbers
MTM improves lives
If you had to guess what percentage of patients said their well-being was improved by MTM, what would you say? 10%? 35%? Maybe 50%?
MTM is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to helping patients live better lives through medication optimization. That’s because when patients participate, they see the value. Many times, patients learn that they have been taking the wrong medication, or the right medication at the wrong dose. These issues would have never come to light without the consultative care of a clinical pharmacist delivering MTM.
Medication therapy problems run rampant
A study of an MTM program implemented at a large health system found that 85% of patients in the program had at least one medication therapy problem. Even more concerning, 29% had five or more therapy problems.
While it’s frightening to think that so many patients have problems with their medication regimens, it’s not surprising. In a healthcare system struggling with staffing issues and burnout, mistakes are inevitably made. However, undertaking the cost to rectify these large-scale issues is well worth the expense. The same study found that the return on investment was $1.29 compared to every $1.00 spent on the program. For those seeking a competitive advantage, 29% ROI on MTM programs could be just what you’ve been looking for.
Boosting patient education through health literacy
One of the forces behind medication-related health issues is the lack of health literacy among patients. All too often, providers give their patients orders rather than explaining the benefits of making healthier decisions and taking medication properly. As a result, patients are underinformed and ultimately have difficulty understanding their medications and how they work.
In fact, over 90 million patients (about twice the population of California) have trouble understanding and acting on health information. Luckily, the empathetic and consultative nature of pharmacist-led MTM consultations is a remedy worth considering. Aspen RxHealth pharmacists have extensive training in motivational interviewing techniques, allowing them to meet patients where they are, speak in a way they can understand, and collaborate to make an action plan they can follow. In this way, we can clear the hurdle of health literacy, which stands as a barrier to improved health for many patients.
Out-of-control chronic conditions
It’s an undeniable truth that chronic conditions are on the rise. In fact, 60% of US adults suffer from at least one chronic disease. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and high cholesterol (among countless more) are becoming more pervasive in our population. Besides the obvious negative effect of sicker patients, this has larger macro implications on our nation’s healthcare system.
With more chronically ill patients using expensive healthcare services at increasing rates, ultimately healthcare costs more for all of us. A huge cost savings opportunity lies in preventing these levels of illness before they occur.
Medication therapy management is one way to stop chronic diseases before they start. During an annual medication review, pharmacists can uncover early indicators and warning signs of chronic disease and make recommendations for changes to medication that can improve the management of these precursor conditions.
Lackluster medication adherence
Many of the issues discussed above can be corrected, prevented, or controlled through proper medication use. The problem is that as many as 50% of medications to control chronic conditions are not properly adhered to. Despite modern medications being some of the most important technological advancements of our time, they still must be taken to work. And with half of them not being taken correctly among our sickest patients, we have a serious problem on our hands.
The issue of medication adherence is another that can be addressed, or even solved, during medication therapy management. During a comprehensive medication review, the pharmacist can identify any and all barriers to medication adherence. For some, it could mean that they can’t afford their medications. For others, it could mean that they read misinformation online that steered them away from their prescriptions. Regardless of the reason, pharmacists can address adherence barriers more effectively and efficiently than other clinicians.
For patients experiencing financial hardship, the pharmacist can direct them toward community-based and/or health plan-provided financial assistance programs to aid in covering the cost of medications. For the uninformed or underinformed patient, the pharmacist can empathetically educate them on how their medications work, the risks of not taking them, and how to properly take them for the maximum benefit.
Say no more. MTM is important but we can’t do it on our own. What now?
You’re not alone. Standing up an MTM program from scratch is complicated, costly, and time-consuming. That’s why our President, a pharmacist himself, founded Aspen RxHealth. We’ve built the nation’s largest network of on-demand pharmacists, who all work remotely from anywhere they like. That matters, because our Pharmacist Community is entirely flexible, meaning we can easily grow or shrink the number of pharmacists contacting your members for MTM consultations.
Aspen RxHealth is a turnkey solution for building the MTM program you’ve been wanting. Not only are all consultations delivered by licensed pharmacists, but we also offer our clients a robust reporting suite so they can stay up to date on program performance—down to the call audio from each and every consultation.
We hope this helps have a productive dialogue with your internal stakeholders, articulating the value of identifying and working with an MTM partner. If not, we’d love to start the discussion and show you why so many of the nation’s top health plans have already chosen to work with us at Aspen RxHealth. Reach out to us here and a member of our team will be in touch.