This month, we take a deeper dive into how technology is transforming the role of pharmacy. Sapna Patel, RPh, Director of Clinical Services at Mosaic Pharmacy Service, provides insight into how she has seen the traditional role of pharmacy evolve; what trends may impact the industry; and how increasing the use of technology in the field can empower the pharmacist to improve patient health.
How the Pharmacist’s Role Has Changed
As a pharmacist for over twenty five years serving both long-term care facilities and patients based at home, I’ve seen the industry evolve considerably. Home-based patients require just as much care as patients in a facility—especially when it comes to managing their complex medication regimen. The traditional role of a pharmacist has emphasized the tasks of medication dispensing and ensuring patient safety; however, as medication regimens have become increasing complex1, the responsibilities of pharmacists have broadened to include:
- Counseling patients on overall medication plans
- Educating patients on disease states and ways to manage their health
- Helping to increase the likelihood of adherence by recommending lower-cost options
- Working with patients to reduce their overall medical spend and ensure the best-possible treatment plan
- Acting as another resource for patients and their caregivers to help with social determinants of health and evaluate any potential risks for hospitalization
The Role of Technology in Pharmacy Patient Care
One of the most significant barriers that continue to negatively affect medication adherence is cost.2 Pharmacists have been able to make significant strides in overcoming this hurdle by utilizing technology. At Mosaic Pharmacy Service, our pharmacists leverage RxAnte’s Therapeutic Decision Support (TDS)™ to help streamline efforts and provide the best-possible pharmacy care for members. Through TDS, pharmacists can readily identify more cost-effective medications and enable improved medication adherence.
Additionally, as Mosaic primarily serves Medicare Part D members, TDS helps our pharmacists understand when it might be time to counsel the patient on approaching their coverage gap. Backed by TDS and by collaborating with the patient and the provider on any possible regimen adjustments, we help to lower the risks of non-adherence and costly hospital stays.
The Future of the Pharmacy
By using an automated filling process, pharmacists at Mosaic Pharmacy Service are able to focus less on dispensing and more on clinical outcomes. This is what our health plans and their members value in a long-term care pharmacy partner.
It is this shift away from simply dispensing medications toward holistic patient care that makes Mosaic unique—we are doing it all. We ensure our patients receive their medications on time, stay adherent to their medications, and are on the most cost-effective medications that benefit their health. At Mosaic, we believe it’s about gaining a holistic picture of the member for optimal patient care.
How RxAnte and Mosaic are Adapting to the Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Healthcare professionals are finding that adults over 65 are taking more medications than ever before. 44% of older adults are on 5 or more medications which has tripled over the past two decades.3 It’s clear that Medicare members who are on multiple medications, suffer from chronic illnesses, and have a history of non-adherence can significantly impact MAPD Star Ratings and overall cost of care for MAPD health plans.4.
RxAnte saw a need in the market for a high-value pharmacy service that leverages technology to drive better health outcomes for these medically complex and vulnerable members, and this is where Mosaic Pharmacy Service comes in. TDS enables Mosaic’s pharmacists to identify opportunities for regimen optimization by coordinating with prescribers to add, remove, or change medications to maximize therapeutic effect while ensuring the patient is paying the lowest possible copays for their medications.
As a result of the combined work of RxAnte and Mosaic Pharmacy Service, Mosaic pharmacists supported by TDS have been able to improve patient adherence by facilitating transitions to safer, simpler, and more cost-effective regimens for our members. In a recent example of the positive changes we’ve made, we conducted several cost-saving and regimen-simplifying interventions for one Mosaic member, ultimately saving the member over $125/month and the health plan over $2,500/month.
4 RxAnte analysis of client health plan data