In an interview with Pharmacy Times® at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Summer Meetings and Exhibition, Arpit Mehta, PharmD, MPh, MHA, director of Pharmacy at Allegheny General Hospital, discusses innovations in health-system patient care models to improve patient outcomes.
Q: What does an effective patient care model look like?
Arpit Mehta: Effective patient care model looks like where a team of professionals, including a pharmacist, or physician or provider, a nurse, a patient care technician team, all coming together, providing that well rounded patient centered care to the patient. Certainly, the focus being improving that population health, you know, so beyond the hospitals are the 4 walls of the hospital. How do we provide the best care to the patient where a patient is safe, they remain healthy, their home, and well taken care of?
Q: What are some innovations that can be made for a more effective patient care model?
Arpit Mehta: I think the big thing is health care automation does automation and health care technology and health care has expanded dramatically in the last decade or so. There’s a lot of automation that can be leveraged to free up our clinicians to really focus on that direct patient care aspect. The automations that can make basic operations more automated or free of humans involved in that day-to-day automation, freeing up our pharmacists, our technicians, so they can do some higher-level functions and provide the transition of care services. It’s really shifting the mindset of how we traditionally work in the pharmacy, or in health care, to what the future looks like with the with leveraging automation, beyond the operations from a clinical decision support artificial intelligence that really predict what the disease state management and the interaction looks like, and how can we leverage all of that to provide that complete patient care, is kind of the future.
Q: How can they improve patient outcomes?
Arpit Mehta: Putting all of that together, really, the focus or the key is freeing up again, our clinicians from the busy work from the just basic, basic thinking of things, so to speak, and leaving them some time and leaving them opportunity to then really focus on those complex cases, on those complex medication management or medication reviews, and really allowing them to focus on that patient interaction or talking to the patients, helping them educate, helping them understand, helping them be successful in their own health, I think is really the key to kind of the future of health care.
Q: What role do pharmacists play in patient care models?
Arpit Mehta: Pharmacists are key in the patient care models in the sense that we’re the medication experts, and, our physician teams or provider teams really rely on the pharmacist to play that role and really help, not only from patient education perspective, but really ensuring that the patient is on the best medication they are. They there is no interactions, the medication management is affordable, so to speak, so when they leave the hospitals, they can afford to continue to take their medications, because that’s one of the challenges the difference is a key issue
It really ensuring that the cost, if you will of health care remains low, right. So our per member, per month cost, how do we ensure that that is as low as possible so we can reduce the cost of health care and keep people healthy. Pharmacists played a key role in that in the hospital setting as well as in the ambulatory setting throughout the transition of care for the patients’ care.
Q: How can pharmacists become effective leaders in patient care models?
Arpit Mehta: Pharmacists certainly are very effective leaders in the medication management portion of the of the team. The idea is that once the provider team has the diagnosis completed, we know what we are trying to treat the patient. Pharmacists, at that point, play that leadership role in identifying what’s best for the patient. How do we ensure the patient has the most affordable, most appropriate care from treatment perspective that they can take advantage of? Pharmacists certainly play a key leadership role in making that happen.
Q: How can pharmacists use communication effectively in patient care models?
Arpit Mehta: Pharmacists are, again, key player of the multidisciplinary team. Communicating through notes and progress notes and the charts and having that direct communication with the multidisciplinary team is a key. Certainly, rounding with the team, being present in the physician’s offices, being present or ambulatory clinics plays a huge role because that allows a pharmacist-to-pharmacist conversation so, a pharmacist on the inpatient side has taken care of the patient.
Now the patient is going to the ambulatory clinic, how do we do that handoff, or the transition, and that communication is a key, having the ability to communicate via progress notes with pretext information, consistent handoff information, so we’re not retyping the same thing we can use a doc phrase or what have you to pre-populate, but then put in the key information that’s patient specific. We have consistency standardized communication between the team members and among the pharmacists as well. I think is kind of the key in ensuring that everything’s communicated effectively with the team.