Medication management programs work but worries remain, CMIOs say

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Chief medical information officers say they believe medication management improvement programs improve patient safety and reduce adverse drug events.

However, a recent survey of CMIOs indicates that they still have concerns about the overall medication management process, with only half saying they are satisfied with the process in their organizations. Some 12 percent of respondents say they are dissatisfied.

The biggest concerns are incomplete patient medication histories, misaligned medication reconciliation and care transition cycles that can lead to misinformed decisions by care teams. CMIOs also have deep concerns about affordability, as the cost of medications continue to rise, straining patients’ abilities to pay, which can affect medication adherence regimens.

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The survey from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, which represents CMIOs and sponsored by software vendor DrFirst, revealed that more than 70 percent of respondent clinicians are concerned about the lack of price transparency and the ability to let a patient know how much a medication costs, including insurance co-pays.

CMIOs also are looking for better workflows to deal with the opioid crisis. Two-thirds of respondents point to the need for workflows that make it easy for physicians to coordinate the entire medication management process. They want electronic prescribing of controlled substances and access to state prescription drug monitoring programs to identify patients with a history of opioid use, as well as electronic access to prescriptions from other providers to avoid potentially harmful drug combinations. Physician responders further cite concerns about their ability to prevent opioid abuse as they cannot easily distinguish “drug shoppers” from genuine patients.

Other findings from the CMIO medication management survey:

* 91 percent of CMIOs believe the biggest gap in medication history adherence is the lack of visibility of patients’ medication adherence—in most cases, only pharmacies know if a patient filled a prescription.

* 85 percent consider the lack of patient participation in the medication reconciliation process as the largest gap for medication history availability.

* 95 percent believe that reducing order entry and data validation burdens for pharmacy and clinical staff will improve safety and efficiencies.

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