Safemed

Using pharmacy technicians in a novel role as community health workers to improve transitions of care

James Bailey, Satya Surbhi, Paula C. Bell, Angel M. Jones, Sahar Rashed, Michael O. Ugwueke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the design, implementation, and early experience of the SafeMed program, which uses certified pharmacy technicians in a novel expanded role as community health workers (CPhT-CHWs) to improve transitions of care. Setting: A large nonprofit health care system serving the major medically underserved areas and geographic hotspots for readmissions in Memphis, TN. Practice innovation: The SafeMed program is a care transitions program with an emphasis on medication management designed to use low-cost health workers to improve transitions of care from hospital to home for superutilizing patients with multiple chronic conditions and polypharmacy. Evaluation: CPhT-CHWs were given primary responsibility for patient outreach after hospital discharge with the use of home visits and telephone follow-up. SafeMed program CPhT-CHWs served as pharmacist extenders, obtaining medication histories, assisting in medication reconciliation and identification of potential drug therapy problems (DTPs), and reinforcing medication education previously provided by the pharmacist per protocol. Results: CPhT-CHW training included patient communication skills, motivational interviewing, medication history taking, teach-back techniques, drug disposal practices, and basic disease management. Some CPhT-CHWs experienced difficulties adjusting to an expanded scope of practice. Nonetheless, once the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy affirmed that envisioned SafeMed CPhT-CHW roles were consistent with Board rules, additional responsibilities were added for CPhT-CHWs to enhance their effectiveness. Patient outreach teams including CPhTCHWs achieved increases in home visit and telephone follow-up rates and were successful in helping identify potential DTPs. Conclusion: The early experience of the SafeMed program demonstrates that CPhT-CHWs are well suited for novel expanded roles to improve care transitions for superutilizing populations. CPhT-CHWs can identify and report potential DTPs to the pharmacist to help target medication therapy management. Critical success factors include strong CPhT-CHW patient-centered communication skills and strong pharmacist champions. In collaboration with state pharmacy boards and pharmacist associations, the SafeMed CPhT-CHW model can be successfully scaled to serve superutilizing patients throughout the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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Drug therapy
Patient Transfer
Pharmacists
Health
Telephone
House Calls
Communication
Health care
Drug Therapy
Medically Underserved Area
Medication Reconciliation
Innovation
Education
Medication Therapy Management
Motivational Interviewing
Polypharmacy
Disease Management
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Health Care Costs
Pharmacy Technicians

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Safemed : Using pharmacy technicians in a novel role as community health workers to improve transitions of care. / Bailey, James; Surbhi, Satya; Bell, Paula C.; Jones, Angel M.; Rashed, Sahar; Ugwueke, Michael O.

In: Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Vol. 56, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 73-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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