A “nationwide movement” is the term used by the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network to describe the more than 2,100 community pharmacies that have recently joined forces via “clinically integrated networks.”
To date, dozens of local networks have sprung up across 45 states, for the stated purpose of “working together to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time to improve patient care and decrease overall health care costs.”
As such, network pharmacists understand the importance of going beyond traditional medication dispensing responsibilities, and accept their broader role in managing patient care. Network pharmacy members provide a range of services – counseling, medication synchronization, referrals – that promote patient well-being. This high level of pharmacist intervention is especially helpful to patients with chronic conditions who take multiple medications, and who make several visits to the pharmacy each month.
Integral to these clinical networks are “pharmacy eCare plans,” which allow pharmacists to electronically document all services provided to patients, along with medication and patient histories, and transmit that information across the patient’s health care team.
The pharmacy eCare plan is a relatively new tool and was developed following a multi-year collaborative initiative by a team comprised of federal regulators, pharmacists, software companies, and payers. As this team went about its work, driving the principle was to “keep it simple,” so that as many pharmacies as possible would be open to participating.
As such, eCare plan functionality is available through several major pharmacy technology providers, including Micro Merchant Systems and its PrimeRx™ operating platform. Pharmacists can easily build, or modify, patient eCare plans directly in PrimeRx™, and can transmit plans to patients’ healthcare teams.
The eCare plan is expected to become a standard capability among community pharmacies, and to improve pharmacists’ ability to proactively manage patient outcomes. As pharmacists gain visibility into services and guidance offered to patients, patients will be able to better manage their chronic conditions, thereby lowering the risk of a condition worsening. This improved outcome will help manage costs since a patient will be less likely to require hospitalization.
In addition to improved patient management, the eCare plan may also help forge a new relationship with payers. Since pharmacists are currently not reimbursed for most non-dispensing related services, network members are optimistic that the payors will no longer be able to deny the value of pharmacist-provided services.
A new eBook from Micro Merchant Systems, “Creating a Pharmacist eCare Plan within PrimeRx™” provides detailed information about eCare plans, along with a step-by-step overview for accessing plan functionality within the PrimeRx™ operating system.
Please click here to download a complimentary copy of the new eBook.