Research snapshot: At-home medication therapy management services beneficial for some patients

May 16, 2016

Managing medications can be difficult. An aging population with a variety of health challenges brings the need for more at-home care options, especially for managing medications.

Shannon Reidt, Pharm.D., MPH, assistant professor in the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, and her team members found that at-home pharmacy visits can help people better manage their medications.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, evaluated the effective design and implementation of home-based medication therapy management services in a health system.

“We took a look at which clinics had the most home-based medication therapy management referrals, and reasons for referral, to understand how home-based medication therapy management services were meeting the needs of our health system patients,” Reidt said.

Bringing a pharmacist to a patient’s home can be more convenient for the patient and allow the pharmacist to get a real-life, comprehensive picture of how a patient is using medications.

“Home-based medication therapy management services offer a patient-centered approach to ensure that medications are indicated, effective, safe, and convenient for patients to use,” Reidt said. “By evaluating medication use in a patient’s home, a pharmacist can better understand how medications are helping or harming a patient’s quality of life.”

Reidt found that the most common referral for an at-home medication therapy management session was non-adherence to medications. Other reasons included transportation barriers and the need for medication reconciliation with a home care nurse.

“Most often, patients didn’t understand how to take their medications or preferred not to use them,” Reidt said.

According to Reidt, 54 percent of patients followed-up with their primary care provider to address the medication-related within thirty days of the home-based visit.

“It was important to us to understand how home-based medication therapy management services were being used and what types of medication-related problems our patients were experiencing,” Reidt said.

Reidt is hoping to use the information from this study to lobby for more insurance plans to cover home-based medication therapy management services, promote home-based medication therapy management services to providers and ensure patients with the greatest need get the services.

“Though beneficial, home-based medication therapy management services can be resource intensive,” Reidt said. “This study gives us some direction on what patient populations may be targeted to most benefit from these services.”