Medication Therapy Management Benefits and Cost Savings

female pharmacist using computer
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Medication Therapy Management, or MTM, is a term used to describe health care services that pharmacists use to provide better care to patients—and its use is growing in pharmacies around the country. 

Pharmacists use a group of services aimed at managing medications to work with a patient and ensure the best possible health outcomes. The type of care provided through MTM is one-on-one care that includes the pharmacist checking in regularly with the patient to:

  • Ensure he or she is taking medications as prescribed
  • Verify the patient is following health and wellness guidelines
  • Check into any related problems such as adverse reactions to medications

How Medication Therapy Management Can Help

Problems related to medications and the mismanagement of medications is estimated to lead to 1.5 million preventable adverse events each year, resulting in $177 billion in injury and death according to the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Below are some of the ways in which strategic medication therapy management services provided by a pharmacist can help:

Bridges the Gap in Healthcare

Through medication therapy management services, a pharmacist keeps in touch with other healthcare providers, such as the doctor (or a number of doctors), bridging the gap and keeping track of every aspect of a patient's health. According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "[The] dys-organization in healthcare delivery is "particularly problematic for complex patients with several chronic conditions who take multiple medications, often provided by numerous specialists in little or no contact with one another—a recipe for pharmacological chaos."

Helps Saves Lives

According to the National Pharmaceutical Council and American Hospital Association, more than 125,000 Americans die from medication mismanagement every year, which is more than twice the number of people killed on our roads. And the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) points out that one in four Americans (about 75 million people) do not follow directions when taking prescription medicines, which leads to prolonged illnesses or even hospitalizations and deaths.

Benefits for the Pharmacy/Drug Store

The benefits for patients are clear, but what about the pharmacist and pharmacy that's using medication therapy management? There are big wins there, too:

  • The pharmacy/pharmacist becomes a trusted healthcare partner.
  • MTM creates additional retail opportunities for a pharmacy or drug store since patients will likely be visiting more frequently to see the pharmacist.
  • It creates new reimbursement opportunities for pharmacies.

Saves Money

There are a number of ways in which a good MTM can help save money, including:

  • Saves patients money because in the long run, they buy less medication. A patient taking his or her medication correctly is a patient who's likely to be in good health sooner. 
  • It reduces pharmacy costs because less labor is required since patients are healthier.
  • Reduces the country's overall healthcare spending. According to Edith Rosato, senior vice president of pharmacy affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), it can save a grand total of $290 billion per year. "So there's a fantastic opportunity to address healthcare costs through the appropriate use of medication," she points out.

Pharmacists Feel More Fulfilled

MTM allows pharmacists to do what they trained to do—talk with patients and advise them on their medication and health—instead of pill counting.

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