Minnesota Pharmacists Successfully Intervene to Close Care Gaps for Patients with Diabetes

MN Community Measurement today announced results from a 12-month study on the impact of pharmacy-based engagement to close gaps in care for patients with diabetes. The study is part of the organization’s broader efforts to empower health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement and details the pharmacy program’s success eliminating 80 percent of open clinical opportunities.

The study, done in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Thrifty White Drug, and Pfizer, leveraged Thrifty White locations and independent pharmacies throughout Minnesota, to help ensure that Blue Cross patients with diabetes received all recommended care, including screenings, immunizations and support programming to help them stay as healthy as possible.

The data in the report reflects care delivered between August 7, 2019 and July 31, 2020, during which time the program tracked nearly 2,000 patients whose claims history suggested they may need one or more care interventions. One-on-one engagement with pharmacists included one or more of the following:

  • Medication synchronization, to ensure that prescriptions share a common refill date whenever possible
  • Completing or providing referral for Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) tests
  • Recommending and/or providing immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
  • Educating patients on the importance of using statin medications and collaborating with providers to initiate therapy
  • Screening for tobacco use and initiating tobacco cessation therapy as appropriate

During the 12-month project, pharmacists completed 5,053 sessions with the targeted Blue Cross patient population. This resulted in 1,400 patients being enrolled in medication synchronization, more than 1,800 patients being screened for immunizations (with 1,097 missing vaccinations identified and administered), and 1,200 patients screened for tobacco usage. In addition, 402 statin medication gaps were addressed, and 75 missing hemoglobin A1c tests were completed.

“MNCM was excited for the opportunity to partner with community stakeholders to measure the impact of pharmacy-based interventions and add to the body of evidence available on pharmacist-provided care,” said MNCM chief operating officer, Liz Cinqueonce. “The results from the study are very encouraging and offer new insights that can be used to inform future care delivery and value-based payment models.”

“This program was particularly effective in getting our members needed care, especially immunizations like flu shots,” said Victoria Losinski, PharmD, Phd, MBA, Director, Strategy, Quality and Implementation. “Additionally, it demonstrates the value of engaging pharmacists as trusted medication experts in improving patient care.”

“Thrifty White was thrilled to engage in this project along with other independent community pharmacies across MN”, said Justin Heiser, PharmD, executive vice president of pharmacy, Thrifty White Pharmacy. “We were confident our pharmacists would demonstrate that the trusting relationship they have with their patients would enable them to have a meaningful impact on gaps in care and that is exactly what they did – and did so during a time when the whole world was wrestling with the Covid-19 Pandemic. The trusting relationship pharmacists have with their patients going forward are going to be even more critical as we understand and navigate the impact the pandemic has had on members’ social determinants of health.”

“We are pleased to have collaborated on this initiative. Partnering with Thrifty White and a strong network of independent pharmacies resulted in a significant improvement in care for patients with diabetes,” said Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, Chief Patient Officer at Pfizer, “ Pharmacist provided services have shown to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.”

About MN Community Measurement
MN Community Measurement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement. A trusted source of health care data since 2005, MNCM works with doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and state agencies to collect, analyze, and report health care data related to quality, cost, and patient experience. Learn more at www.mncm.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota and Blue Plus® are nonprofit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.

About Thrifty White Drug
Headquartered in Plymouth, MN, Thrifty White Pharmacy is a technology enabled healthcare services company focused on utilizing patient engagement to improve outcomes and reduce the cost of care. By leveraging the unique capabilities of pharmacists, combined with focused technology and clinical care plans, Thrifty White Pharmacy creates better patient experiences and improved patient outcomes. The Thrifty White Pharmacy suite of offerings includes proprietary dispensing, clinical, and operations technology. In addition, Thrifty White Pharmacy is licensed in all 50 states and offers retail, alternate care, and URAC and ACHC accredited specialty pharmacy services across a network of 100 owned community pharmacy locations and 82 independently owned pharmacies throughout the Midwest. Thrifty White Pharmacy has been recognized by multiple organizations as a leading “Pharmacy Innovator” for the company’s efforts to continually move the practice of pharmacy forward.

About Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that change patients’ lives®
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer News, LinkedIn, YouTube and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.