Integrating Pharmacies Into Clinical Care Improves Patient Outcomes

Having an on-site pharmacist as part of a patient’s integrated care team can lead to better health outcomes, according to a series of studies from Fairview Health Services.

Analyses of patient data over four years showed decreased readmission rates, more patients taking their medication correctly, and a higher rate of filled prescriptions for Fairview patients who used Fairview pharmacies.

Fairview pharmacists work in close alignment with Fairview primary and specialty care providers—in person and through shared electronic medical records—to help create the best care plans for patients.

“Pharmacists act as an additional member of a patient’s care team,” said Jeffrey Norman, MD, Fairview Clinics – Eagan. “That means patients who use our pharmacies really have two experts working together to come up with solutions for them. Patients might not find this level of pharmacist engagement outside of a comprehensive health system.”

Patients who used Fairview Pharmacy had 9 percent fewer visits overall to the system’s clinics or hospitals, according to a study conducted in partnership with health analytics company Carrot Health. The same patients experienced 6 percent fewer outpatient visits, 6 percent fewer emergency room visits and 22 percent fewer inpatient readmissions within 30 days.

For patients with complex diseases, Fairview Pharmacy offers comprehensive clinical and patient support services that can lead to increased medication adherence and completion. Independent studies by Fairview Pharmacy Services show that Fairview Pharmacy’s cystic fibrosis patients were 70 percent more likely to take their medications as prescribed than those in a benchmark comparison study, and patients who enrolled in Fairview Pharmacy’s blood pressure management program were 22 percent more likely to fill the prescriptions for their blood pressure medications.

In addition, patients who received a pharmacist-provided comprehensive medication management (CMM) visit had a 33 percent lower rate of 30-day readmissions than patients who did not, and patients with schizophrenia who enrolled in Fairview’s clozapine monitoring program were almost four times more likely to remain on their clozapine therapy after just 90 days.

“If a patient is forgetting to take their medicine, I’ll follow up with the patient to help them understand the purpose behind the medication,” said Mary Raven, PharmD, Fairview Pharmacy. “I can also follow up with the provider to explore other avenues that might make it easier for the patient.”

Raven added that patients can talk to their pharmacist without an appointment, and pharmacists can help relay necessary information back to their provider due to common communications platforms.

“Patients aren’t on their own once a pharmacist hands them a medication,” said Lori Simpson, RPh, director of retail operations,Fairview Pharmacy Services. “We’re their partner, and together, in alignment with their provider, we are here to help them get better.”

Fairview Health Services is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit health system driven to heal, discover and educate for longer, healthier lives. Founded in 1906, Fairview provides exceptional care to patients and communities as one of the most comprehensive and geographically accessible systems in Minnesota. Through a close relationship with the University of Minnesota, Fairview offers access to breakthrough medical research and specialty expertise as part of a continuum of care that reaches all ages and health needs. Fairview has more than 35 pharmacy locations across the Twin Cities.