A growing body of evidence is showing that comprehensive medication management (CMM) can be an important component in reaching the so-called triple aim of health care reform:

  • Improving the experience of care
  • Improving the health of populations
  • Reducing per capita costs

In December 2015, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a white paper that examined six CMM pilot programs in southern California and found each showed improvements in clinical, fiscal, and quality measures. Co-authored by physicians and pharmacists, and bearing a stamp of approval from the CDPH, the paper’s publication represents a significant step forward for CMM’s growth and acceptance both in California and nationwide.

What is CMM?

Titled Comprehensive Medication Management Programs: Description, Impacts and Status in Southern California, 2015, the white paper notes that CMM was first defined in 2010 by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative as a practice intended for high-risk, chronically ill patients in which pharmacists assess each patient’s medications (whether they are prescription, nonprescription, alternative, traditional, vitamins, or nutritional supplements) to determine that each medication is:

  • Appropriate for the patient
  • Effective for the medical condition
  • Safe, given the comorbidities [concurrent medical conditions] and other medications being taken
  • Able to be taken by the patient as intended

These assessments are part of an individualized care plan that includes appropriate follow-up to determine actual patient outcomes. The paper adds that CMM’s “whole patient” focus is different from other medication therapy management (MTM) services such as managing medications for a particular disease state or drug-only interventions.

Original Article and Interview with Marilyn Stebbins, PharmD, one of the paper’s authors, UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty member and Vice Chair of Clinical Innovation in the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy.