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Kroger pharmacies in N.C. now Pharmacist eCare-ready

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. and health technology provider AssureCare have achieved Level III capability from Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) for the Pharmacist eCare Plan initiative.

The companies said Monday that Kroger pharmacies in North Carolina using AssureCare’s MedCompass solution can now share care plans electronically, support care coordination, and actively participate with CCNC and its patient-centered medical home and care-management activities.

“It allows pharmacists to exchange real-time information with the entire care team of the patient with a keen focus on the triple aim: improving health outcomes, engaging patients and reducing costs,” according to Yousuf Ahmad, president chief executive officer of AssureCare.

Under Pharmacist eCare Plan project,  standards adopted by medical providers in electronic medical records (EMRs) are used to develop an electronic pharmacy care plan, a shared document detailing a patient’s drug regimen and health issues, including drug therapy problems and medication support, as well as the pharmacy’s interventions and the patient’s health outcomes.

For community pharmacies participating in the North Carolina Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN), the Pharmacist eCare Plan standard will enable pharmacists to devise care plans within the technology already in use in the pharmacy and utilizes existing standards for data exchange.

Kroger said that by being able to submit the Pharmacist eCare Plan, its pharmacists can engage patients and his/her care team, improving health outcomes, and reduce costs.

“This Level 3 capability allows Kroger pharmacies to transmit patient active medication lists, drug therapy problems, gaps in care, interventions and patient-centered goals,” Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Pharmacy and The Little Clinic, said in a statement. “By using AssureCare, our pharmacists have a much broader, real-time view of the patient’s care plan and consequently, they have the tools to go ‘beyond the fill,’ improving patient health outcomes, enhancing patient engagement and reducing costs.”

Kroger’s pharmacists can also use AssureCare’s technology platform to identify interventions or services that a patient needs and drive services such as medication reconciliation, medication adherence monitoring, medication synchronization, immunizations, Medicare plan reviews, patient engagement, communication to the electronic health record (EHR) to other health care providers, and billing for enhanced services.

“The Pharmacist eCare Plan is a dynamic plan that contains information on the patient, pharmacist and care team’s concerns and goals related to medication optimization,” explained Jim Kirby, senior director of pharmacy services for Kroger. “The care plan may also contain information related to individual health and social risks that may impact care, planned interventions, expected outcomes and referrals to other providers or for additional services, e.g. nutrition consultation or diagnostic laboratory studies.”

Troy Trygstad, vice president of pharmacy programs at Community Care of North Carolina, noted that AssureCare’s technology allows Kroger pharmacies to communicate with commercial health plans, government sponsored health programs, hospitals, physician practices, accountable care organizations (ACOs), quality assurance organizations, risk-bearing entities (RBEs) and other care team members “in a way that gives depth and context to their pharmacy’s activities.”

“This is an important step towards pharmacies’ meaningful integration with the rest of the health care team,” Trygstad stated. “Without the Pharmacist eCare Plan, it is difficult for pharmacies to participate in widespread health care system payment reform efforts, and they risk getting left behind.”


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