Pairing patients up with the right medications, sending refill reminders and tracking results are all ingredients for a successful hepatitis C medication management program, says UMass Medical School pharmacy expert Pavel Lavitas, PharmD, BCPS.
“A successful hepatitis C medication management program should promote cost effective use of limited health care resources while also optimizing member outcomes,” says Lavitas, a clinical consultant pharmacist in Clinical Pharmacy Services.
New cases of Hepatitis C nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the “most common bloodborne infections in the U.S.,” notes Lavitas, who oversees the Hepatitis C management program for MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program.
The first key component of an effective hepatitis C medication management program is to match a member with a clinically-approved and cost-effective therapy, according to Lavitas. Doing that often entails a prior authorization review of the member’s prescription, and when necessary, suggesting a new regimen to ensure the most appropriate medications are being used.
Prior authorization and switching members into carefully crafted medication plans were factors that helped UMass Medical School save the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth, more than $3.7 million in just over one year.
The second key component of an effective hepatitis C medication management program is a combination of refill reminders and patient education. These efforts are designed to ensure medication adherence by patients.
Having pharmacist technicians monitor prescription records and reach out to patients over the phone with refill reminders can both head off costly medical issues later on and also speed up recovery.
Closely tracking results, collecting treatment outcomes, and making adjustments based on the evidence is the third key component of a successful hepatitis C program.