Pharmacists' involvement in a population health initiative focused on chronic disease management is described.Summary
Geisinger Health System has cultivated a culture of innovation in population health management, as highlighted by its ambulatory care pharmacy program, the Medication Therapy Disease Management (MTDM) program. Initiated in 1996, the MTDM program leverages pharmacists' pharmacotherapy expertise to optimize care and improve outcomes. MTDM program pharmacists are trained and credentialed to manage over 16 conditions, including atrial fibrillation (AF) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Over a 15-year period, Geisinger Health Plan (GHP)–insured patients with AF whose warfarin therapy was managed by the MTDM program had, on average, 18% fewer emergency department (ED) visits and 18% fewer hospitalizations per year than GHP enrollees with AF who did not receive MTDM services, with 23% lower annual total care costs. Over a 2-year period, GHP-insured patients with MS whose pharmacotherapy was managed by pharmacists averaged 28% fewer annual ED visits than non–pharmacist-managed patients; however, the mean annual total care cost was 21% higher among MTDM clinic patients.Conclusion
The Geisinger MTDM program has evolved over 20 years from a single pharmacist-run anticoagulation clinic into a large program focused on managing the health of an ever-growing population. Initial challenges in integrating pharmacists into the Geisinger patient care framework as clinical experts were overcome by demonstrating the MTDM program's positive impact on patient outcomes.