Tech has future role in chronic condition management
Chronic care management poses daunting challenges, and some industry experts are comforted by the possible future roles of technology to ease the hurdles.
“If you could zoom forward another 10 or 20 years, I think we’d be having a whole different level of conversation than what we have today,” said Leon Nevers, director of business development and procurement at H-E-B.
He noted that today, refill reminders are widespread, along with health screenings and immunizations. “We all obviously have the very basic levels of patient interaction covered.”
However, “technology is really what’s going to drive us and help integrate that entire patient experience in a way that really transforms lives,” he said.
He called this a “generational issue” because of the gradual nature of technology improvements. “I think the next generation, and the generation after, are really going to engage. The future looks bright when you have the ability to add technology to what we already do with the patient interaction from a human perspective, so I’m very optimistic about the future.”
Andre Persaud, a business advisor and senior industry executive, said he feels excited about the future in analyzing today’s consumer engagement with technology at retail.
“I think it’s a very interesting time when you look at just general retail statistics, where 80% of mobile users interact on the phone during a shopping experience,” he said. “And 50% of people who are engaging in some type of grocery purchase start on the phone, whether it’s for recipe or nutrition information.”
He said this ties directly back to health care. “I think health care is the next step on that.”
Chronic care management perspective
Industry executives concede that there aren’t quick solutions to improving outcomes for chronic diseases. As a result, making progress will take partnerships and smart strategies.
“There are no silver bullets,” said Todd Treon, vice president of Medicine Shoppe International. “It’s such a deep behavioral challenge in many ways that we’re going to need to come up with some other models and look at the longer payback horizon with all of the actors that are part of this system.”
Becky Dant, director of professional services at Costco, pointed to the siloed nature of the health system, in which “the insurance company has one goal, and the pharmacy has another goal and the healthcare provider has a different goal.”
The solution is “really creating those partnerships so you are caring for the patient, and you’re decreasing duplicate work that doesn’t need to be there,” she said.
The industry employs a lot of jargon in discussing topics such as chronic care, but oftentimes “buzzwords actually have meaning,” said Marcus Silva, director of U.S. marketing and analytics at BD Medical-diabetes care.
“I think about diabetes care, and ‘population management’ certainly is a big component of managing diabetes throughout the patient journey,” he said. “’Collaboration’ is another buzzword, but it’s important … I think when we work together, we can really make an impact.”
Cedarville U commits to innovating pharmacy practice
The Cedarville University School of Pharmacy opened its new Center for Pharmacy Innovation on Jan. 1, 2018 thanks to a $250,000 donation from Dave and Phyllis Grauer of Dublin, Ohio. In addition to this contribution, the Grauers also serve on the School of Pharmacy’s board of advisors, have taught at the school and have funded scholarships for pharmacy students.
According to Marc Sweeney, dean of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy, the Grauers’ contribution is meant to spur on others to help support the new center. “Our hope is to identify creative solutions to some of our most challenging problems in health care,” Sweeney said. “With the Grauers’ gift, we hope to attract additional donors who will commit to fostering innovation in pharmacy and healthcare.”
The Center for Pharmacy Innovation employs Justin Cole, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, as director. He works to attract innovators and funding for pilot projects to address issues such as medication non-adherence, rising drug and healthcare costs, appropriate integration of technology and new drug discovery. The Cedarville, Ohio-based center will collaborate with the Ohio Pharmacists Association, among others, to develop creative solutions to healthcare issues.
“We want to help professional pharmacists look for and identify areas in health care where they can play a key role in optimizing quality, reducing costs, and improving population health,” Sweeney said. “Not only are the president and Congress trying to address those issues, but solutions need to come from within the healthcare system as well.”
“Pharmacists can do more with their drug knowledge and communication skills as a member of a team of healthcare professionals to help implement innovative healthcare delivery,” Dave Grauer said.