Why Medication Therapy Management is Important in the Pharmacy
by Kimberly Gabriel, CPhT
Have you ever tried to fill a patient’s prescription only to find out it wasn’t covered by their insurance?
Has your patient suddenly become a Karen with devil horns and a forked tongue?
That’s a headache you can easily avoid with medication therapy management! With Medication Therapy Management, you will get a convenient way to see which rebates and discounts their insurance covers (and should be able to use), but most importantly, you will have a happier, healthier patient who doesn’t want to set the pharmacy on fire.
Medication Therapy Management specialists are there to help ID potential drug occurrences and substitution, potentially saving you hours of wasted time and preventing grouchy Karen-arsonists from charring your lab coat!
In most of pharmacy’s Medication Therapy Management programs, technicians are used to gathering patient information, such as by monitoring third-party Medication Therapy Management databases. Technicians also monitor a patient’s adherence to their medication regimen and alert the pharmacist if the patient is late on getting their medication refilled.
These patients are flagged in the computer system so the technicians and pharmacists working in the pharmacy can quickly identify them when they visit the pharmacy. Since face-to-face interaction is preferred, this is the easiest way to access patients. If a more involved interaction is required, the technician will contact the patient to set up an appointment at a convenient time when a pharmacist is available to provide Medication Therapy Management.
To increase patient participation in the Medication Therapy Management program, the technician will send a reminder to the patient about the appointment and place a reminder call the day before. As a pharmacy technician, you are often the first point of contact for patients, and you are responsible for collecting patient information and documenting it accurately. You must be able to communicate effectively with patients and understand their needs.
While the pharmacist is legally the only one who can counsel patients about their prescriptions, the pharmacy technician can ensure that the patient has all the information and paperwork available about their medication.
Technicians can also put together a list of resources the patient might want, especially if they have a chronic disease such as COPD or Diabetes.
The last area the technician can play a role in is patient billing. Some third-party payers have online billing procedures, and others require paper billing. An example of such a system is Mercy Family Pharmacy, which utilizes a super bill form that the pharmacist completes. Then the technician can use it to fill out the appropriate billing for that patient’s payer. The technician can also be responsible for making sure payment is received (Ernzen).
Medication Therapy Management therapy is critical in providing optimal medication outcomes for our patients, especially those with chronic diseases. Medication Therapy Management services are also getting increasing support from third-party payers due to their demand for better patient care to receive full payment for services and medications. It would not be possible for pharmacists to provide this service efficiently without the participation and help of pharmacy technicians.
Melissa Ernzen, Pharm.D. CDE. “Pharmacy Technicians: Taking an Active Role in Medication Therapy Management.” Home, https://info.nhanow.com/learning-leading-blog/pharmacy-technicians-taking-an-active-role-in-medication-therapy-management.
Wagner, Edward H, The Role of Patient Care Teams in Chronic Disease Management, BMJ, February 2000;320, 569. Bluml, Benjamin M, Definition of Medication Therapy Management: Development of Professionwide Consensus, Journal of the American Pharmacist Association, September/October 2005;45:5, 566-572.