Adverse drug reactions are a serious cause of death and injury, especially among the elderly and those dealing with chronic conditions. That is why the U.S. government added Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services to its Medicare Plan D program.
[wp_ad_camp_4]By increasing face-time between patients and pharmacists, the goal of MTM is to reduce adverse drug reactions, as well as the associated expenses, eventually setting a new standard in medication therapy. MTM requires pharmacists to engage more closely with patients, as well as primary care physicians, in order to coordinate care, communication, and treatment plans.
MTM pharmacists assign a Personal Medication Record (PMR) to their patients, establishing comprehensive history that can be used to evaluate future treatment options, and ensure greater precision and effectiveness in tracking outcomes. The PMR not only includes a patient’s history of prescribed medications, but takes into account their use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, as well as any herbal supplements, or other non-prescribed therapies, and even patient feedback and preferences.
Patients in an MTM program will have regular follow-ups with their pharmacists to track their symptoms, identify possible side-effects, and ensure they are correctly following the directions of all medication they are taking. This ensures that their PMR remains up to date and accurate, as well as increasing opportunities for patients to ask questions, voice concerns, or identify risks before they become a problem.
Although directed at Medicare patients, voluntary enrollment in MTM programs is on the rise, as more and more people come to rely on their pharmacists to provide additional services, and recognize the value of receiving professional assistance in managing all of their medications. It is one branch of the emerging focus on patient-centered medicine, in which more personalized, targeted care replaces the generalized trial and error of the past.
The University of Florida is the first school in the nation to offer a Master’s Degree in Medication Therapy Management. They produced the following infographic, summarizing the benefits of MTM as a service, and the need for more pharmacists to pursue MTM education.