Pharmacists are well suited to help patients overcome the barriers that prevent access to therapy regimens.
Health-system specialty pharmacists hold a unique position in chronic care in helping patients overcome the barriers that prevent access to therapy regimens, which can be adjusted by the right pharmacy measures, according to a session presented at the 2022 Pharmacy Quality Alliance Annual Meeting.
Casey Ross, PharmD, MBA, CTTS, clinical operations manager at Southern Ohio Medical Center, discussed how in rural medical environments such as hers, it is common to see many patients with chronic conditions who are in the poverty range. That is why there are patient challenges to managing diabetes specifically—mainly cost, complexity, and coordination, according to Ross.
“Many of our patients can’t afford medications, they were skipping doses or limiting the dose that they took to stretch the prescription and then their health outcomes would really suffer,” Ross said. “Unfortunately, this is not just a challenge in Southern Ohio, but in the United States.”
For patients on therapies such as insulin, challenges include special handling needs, prior authorizations for formulary changes, the need to train them on injection technique, and how to adequately control the disease state itself. That is why coordination is important for intensive management for each patient to succeed in therapy, according to Ross.
Pharmacists can make sure the logistics of patient support are met, according to Brandon Hardin, PharmD, MBA, CSP, director of clinical services at TrellisRx.
Hardin described 4 major components that pharmacists can follow to provide the best all-around care in a specialty setting:
- Medication access support, such as prior authorizations, financial assistance applications, benefits investigation, and pharmacy liaisons heavily involved to marry traditional services with impactful specialty models.
- Dispensing services, which is a core component, includes packaging, dispensing, and patients picking up meds at the pharmacy or via home delivery.
- Adherence/refill coordination, such as monthly refill coordination calls.
- Clinical education/monitoring, which is where medication education is handled with topics such as injection training, clinical monitoring, and with intensive pharmacist support provided to high-risk patients.
“We want to emphasize that those non-clinical components of service offering should be available to all patients at all times, and there is more of an effort to be with these patients during these times,” Hardin said.
Bulldozing Barriers to Care: Enhancing Access and Outcomes for Patients with Diabetes. PQA 2022. May 4, 2022. Accessed May 4, 2022.