Learning Session 6

Speaker: Benjamin M. Bluml, RPh
Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation
American Pharmacists Association Foundation
(202) 429-7571
bbluml@aphanet.org(link sends e-mail)

Date: April 20, 2016
Brief Bio: (download)
Benjamin Bluml is the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation at the APhA Foundation. Along with his 20-plus years as the principal architect for the patient care models at the APhA Foundation and 12 years of pharmacy practice experience, Bluml is the author of numerous innovative health care software applications and professional journal publications related to his work on collaborative practice, health information technology, inter-disciplinary patient care, and quality improvement. He works with pharmacists, physicians, payers, research organizations, and technology companies across the United States to design and implement innovative collaborative practice programs and health care service delivery systems.

Bluml received his BSPharm from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Pharmacy. His professional passion is improving people’s lives by optimizing the way health care is delivered. He focuses system change efforts on empowering patients, increasing collaboration, enhancing patient safety, improving outcomes, and reducing total costs for care. Bluml believes that the best way to improve health care is to put patients first, properly align incentives, optimize medication use, increase communication, and to effectively and securely exchange health information.

Watch the presentation here. (33 minutes)


Objectives of the presentation:

  • Increase the knowledge and ability of state and local health departments to impact uncontrollable high blood pressure through partnerships with pharmacists and pharmacies.

Main points to be covered:

  • Review the impact that can be achieved by using pharmacists in BP control and medication management
  • Look at barriers to pharmacist’s action such as payment reimbursement, provider status
  • Discuss strategies that the state health commissioner and chronic disease prevention staff can use to connect and have meaningful engagement with pharmacists at the state or local level in BP control and medication management
  • Identify a list of resources at the state and national level that can be accessed

Main points presented:

  • State practice acts empower pharmacists to provide clinical services.
  • The lack of pharmacist reimbursement limits patient access to certain health care services and the contributions pharmacists can make to health care and outcomes.
  • Integrating pharmacists into health care teams will improve health outcomes and greatly benefit specific populations, especially those with chronic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • APhA is creating a preferred future by implementing projects including: Project Impact Hyperlipidemia, The Diabetes Top City Challenge, The Asheville Project, and the Patient Self-Management Credential. Results included improved risk identification, referral and economic savings per patient per year.
  • Review of the CDC/APhA convened consortium and their recommendations for advancing pharmacists’ patient care services and collaborative practice agreements.

Main take-away points:

  • Pharmacists are key players in a team-based care model for managing uncontrolled hypertensive patients.
  • Barriers to pharmacists reaching their full potential of managing uncontrolled hypertensive patients includes no reimbursement for care by insurance companies and restrictions in state practice acts that prohibit full use of a pharmacists skill with assisting patients control hypertension
  • State and local health departments should work with state and local pharmacy associations for barriers particular to their state and local area and determine courses of action for policy or program changes.
  • True sustainability and scalability in community based programs requires:
    • Widespread payment for pharmacists’ services
    • Expansion of interdisciplinary care models
    • Quality- and data-driven decision-making
  • Inventing a preferred future includes the patient, physician and pharmacists that work through 1) interoperability of Pharmacists and Health Information, 2) Medication Use Quality and Safety and 3) Patient Access to Needed Medications and Pharmacy Services.
  • Healthcare delivery collaborations can lead to 1) improved patient care, 2) increased communication between and among patients/providers, 3) increased availability of objective measures and 4) reduced total cost for care over time.