Integrating Medication Therapy Management Education into a Core Pharmacy Curriculum

By Poole, Traci M.; Kodali, Leela et al. | American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, May 2016 | Go to article overview

Integrating Medication Therapy Management Education into a Core Pharmacy Curriculum


Poole, Traci M., Kodali, Leela, Pace, Adam C., American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education


INTRODUCTION

In June 2013, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics reported that the United States health care system incurs approximately $200 billion in costs related to the inappropriate use of medications. (1) Numerous studies show the positive impact pharmacists have on clinical, economic, and humanistic outcomes related to medications, and many of these medication-related problems can be mitigated through pharmacist provision of medication therapy management (MTM) services. (2,3) Since the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the demand for MTM providers has risen as more patients become eligible to participate in MTM programs. (4,5) With legislative efforts to enable pharmacists to practice at the top of the profession's license through provider status and collaborative practice, pharmacy education train clinicians who are capable of performing the role of a pharmacist within future models of care upon graduation. (6)

Evidenced by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Accreditation Standards and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)--Center for Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) Educational Outcomes, the two bodies align in their expectations that pharmacy graduates should be equipped with the skills necessary to assess, manage, and monitor medication regimens. (7,8) Findings from a 2011 joint report by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and AACP indicated that the expansion of MTM services would demand student pharmacist involvement to adequately supply the number of qualified persons to perform such services. (9) This suggests that student pharmacists must not only be exposed to MTM, but be capable of supporting pharmacists in the delivery of advanced services as more MTM-eligible patients enter into the health care system. Another 2011 report by APhA and AACP noted that only 18 schools and colleges of pharmacy submitted the methods by which they included formal MTM-specific training into their curricula, indicating there potentially was a lag in integrating this piece of education into core pharmacy curricula. (10) To date, the literature describing curricular implementation of MTM skills mostly surrounds elective and experiential courses. (11-16) In fact, the literature lacks a description of a core course designed to emphasize MTM core elements as skill content across settings in which a pharmacist may perform MTM services. Based on accreditation requirements, it may be assumed that the concepts and skills necessary to adequately perform MTM are spread throughout the entirely of pharmacy curricula. While verifying this assumption may be impractical or difficult, designing an intentional core course addresses the needs of MTM education directly.

Through an educational approach known as deep learning, we developed a core course to not only implement MTM education into the core curriculum, but also create student pharmacists capable of assisting with the potential professional gap. Deep learning is defined as the critically examining new facts and ideas, then incorporating them into existing cognitive structures and making numerous links between ideas. (17) The concept of deep learning is associated with a genuine understanding of information that promotes long-term retention of the learned material and the ability to retrieve and apply it. (18-20) Instructors facilitate an environment of deep learning by utilizing innovative methods to deliver essential core content to students that allows them to learn and apply new information.

Deep learning is established and measured in this course predominantly by what the literature defines as authentic assessments. Mueller defined an authentic assessment as one for which "students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. …

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