PharmaSmart kiosks validated in two independent studies, new clinical integration announced
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — PharmaSmart International’s comprehensive blood pressure program has recently been validated in two new, independent scientific studies, the company announced today. The company also announced a partnership with Rx-30 Pharmacy System that offers an automated clinical integration of validated PharmaSmart biometrics within the patient record.
December 2012 issue of Blood Pressure Monitoring featured a survey titled “Are Kiosk Blood Pressure Readings Trustworthy?” The peer-reviewed survey, which was not funded by PharmaSmart, recognized PharmaSmart as the only blood pressure kiosk device to produce evidence of compliance with the AAMI/ISO international accuracy standard. The survey author, Bruce S. Alpert, M.D., called on the Food and Drug Administration and device buyers to demand that blood pressure kiosks meet or exceed the AAMI (ISO) standard.
After finding that only one of the leading U.S. blood pressure kiosk manufacturers provided clinical validation data on their website, Dr. Alpert initiated a survey of seven companies, requesting validation data for independent review. Dr. Alpert concluded: “Only one company provided a complete and satisfactory response (PharmaSmart).”
Dr. Alpert also addressed the issue of blood pressure kiosk cuff sizes, citing the fact that most kiosks are designed only for the average adult arm and are too small for about 50% of the U.S. adult population. He stated, “Inappropriate cuff size is a leading cause of inaccurate results.” PharmaSmart employs a patented cuff that accommodates the arm size of approximately 97% of the U.S. adult population. Alpert’s article concluded with a call for stronger regulatory oversight, stating “We should encourage the FDA to take a more proactive role” in the regulation of blood pressure kiosk devices.
A second study, published on Jan. 9, 2013, in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension and also not funded by PharmaSmart, evaluated over 8.4 million PharmaSmart blood pressure readings from 341 pharmacy locations. The researchers, Ross Tsuyuki, PharmD, and Sherilyn Houle, BSP, cited the public health opportunity presented by the PharmaSmart program. The researchers wrote “approximately two-thirds of results obtained are elevated,” adding “this may present a unique and important opportunity for the early detection of hypertension (or poorly controlled hypertension) in the community, particularly among individuals who do not regularly present to a physician.”
PharmaSmart also announced a data integration partnership with Transaction Data Systems, developers of the Rx30 pharmacy management system. Steve Wubker, president of Transaction Data Systems, said, "Rx30’s integration with PharmaSmart delivers validated patient biometrics directly within Rx30, allowing pharmacists to target not just adherence, but actual clinical outcomes. PharmaSmart’s program is supported by strong clinical science. Rx30 can only integrate patient data if the source is clinically validated. Because of their device validity and interoperable framework, PharmaSmart provides unique value to emerging pharmacy care models."
The integrated PharmaSmart / Rx30 clinical solution was recently deployed within the Astrup Drug Stores, a pharmacy chain in Minnesota. Tim Gallagher, RPh, COO at Astrup Drug, stated “PharmaSmart and Rx30 have teamed up to deliver a breakthrough in pharmacy care. Our pharmacists now have access to live, validated biometrics for all enrolled patients, all within the standard pharmacy workflow. Because of the workflow friendly design, the program can scale and be sustained. This is hard to achieve with disease management programs.”
PharmaSmart clinical director, Mark Gelfer, M.D., noted, “PharmaSmart has altered the scope of what a public-use blood pressure kiosk can deliver. They have combined peer-reviewed proof of accuracy, a cuff that accommodates nearly all adults, and an interoperable health IT platform that integrates the patient with their care team." PharmaSmart president and CEO Fred Sarkis stated, “The medical community has historically dismissed the value of blood pressure kiosks. With the validity and workflow questions resolved, our retail clients are now in a position to advance their clinical programs with confidence.”
NCPA gets behind collective bargaining bill
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday endorsed H.R. 1188, legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Judy Chu, D-Calif. The bill will allow independent community pharmacies to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of insurance contracts they must sign, typically with pharmacy benefit managers that administer prescription drug plans.
“This important legislation … would help level a distorted playing field upon which billion-dollar PBM corporations often stick independent community pharmacies with one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it contracts," stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. "Unfortunately, it is often an offer that can’t be refused, as being excluded from a PBM’s pharmacy network could spell financial doom for an independent community pharmacy."
Sens. Pat Roberts and Kay Hagan introduce legislation to expand MTM access
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Kay Hagan, D-N.C. on Thursday introduced legislation written to lower healthcare costs by helping more seniors better manage their prescriptions. The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act will allow seniors with any high-cost chronic illness to review all their medication and develop a plan of action with a pharmacist.
“Expanding this already successful program is a commonsense, fiscally responsible way to improve seniors’ health and reduce preventable trips to the hospital,” Hagan said. “MTM programs save lives and have already saved tens of millions of dollars in North Carolina alone. I urge my colleagues to join me and Senator Roberts to pass this bipartisan bill that will keep our seniors healthy and reduce healthcare costs.”
“We have recognized the value of pharmacists in the health system for many years. They are especially valuable for our Kansas communities, and can sometimes be the only health provider in our rural towns.” Roberts added. “MTM is an important tool in the pharmacists tool box for many patients but which can be critical for those suffering from chronic conditions."
Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. last week. Both the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association are fully behind the bill, the associations stated.
MTM involves pharmacists working with patients to review and monitor their medication plan to maximize its effectiveness and avoid potential health problems, ultimately helping to reduce costs in the long run. With approximately 1.5 million preventable adverse drug effects occurring every year as a result of medication errors, medication therapy programs can greatly improve patient safety, noted the NCPA in a press release issued Thursday evening. "For many Medicare patients, the challenges of coping with chronic conditions require an expert’s consultation, and pharmacists are clinically-trained in helping ensure their patients are getting the best possible results for their health," noted NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey.
In a separate release, NACDS added that only 50% of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion annually in avoidable health spending annually, citing policy research group NEHI. “Pharmacists are widely trusted healthcare professionals with extensive education," stated Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. "They are trained medication specialists who work collaboratively to help patients use medicines safely and stay healthy,” he said. “This legislation will go a long way in helping to further pharmacists’ ability to help improve patient health and make health care more affordable.”
Currently Medicare Part D Plans are only required to offer MTM coverage plans to beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. The MTM Empowerment Act allows seniors with only one high cost chronic condition, such as diabetes, hypertension or asthma to access MTM services.
The bill includes safeguards to ensure that expanding access to MTM in Medicare will not increase spending but actually save money. Language in the bill stipulates that before seniors with one high-cost chronic condition may see a qualified provider for a comprehensive medication review, the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must certify that the program will lower spending. And, five years after implementation, the Chief Actuary must certify that the program actually did lower spending. Although all current evidence indicates that increased access to MTM services lowers overall health care spending for participating patients, if the Chief Actuary finds that the program did not lower spending, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services must review whether to continue the program for seniors with one high-cost chronic condition.