Minnesota Hospital Association


November 14, 2012

Medication therapy helps patients manage medications, avoid unnecessary hospital admission

Managing medications can be a cumbersome process for patients, especially those with multiple chronic conditions or who are managing numerous medications. Understanding dosage, side effects and how medications interact with one another can be confusing.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato is helping improve patient outcomes through its medication therapy management (MTM) services. “These MTM consultations help patients save money and decrease their hospital visits by addressing their medications and the side effects they may be experiencing,” says Audrey Imberg, R.Ph., Pharm D. at Mayo Clinic Health System. “We are empowering patients to make choices and take control of their health. The partnership formed between patient and provider ultimately leads to a healthier community.”

According to the Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively (RARE) Campaign, medication management is one of the five areas known to reduce avoidable readmissions.

During a medication therapy management consultation, a pharmacist meets with the patient to discuss all of his/her medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary and herbal supplements. Each medication is examined individually to determine possible side effects, negative interactions and unnecessary dosages. If any issues are discovered, the pharmacist then works with the patient’s health care providers to make beneficial changes to the patient’s medication regimen.

“MTM provides education to patients in terms of the medications they are taking,” says Imberg. “The results often enhance communication between the patient and their care providers because patients now better understand their medications. This eliminates time spent asking about medications and side effects and opens up dialogue to address other important medical concerns.”

Patients who have participated in the MTM program have experienced positive results.

“So far the program has been awesome,” says Joe Elfert, whose father, Jerry, participated in the MTM program. “My dad was on a tremendous amount of medications before the medication therapy management program. We ended up eliminating or reducing the dosage on about six of his medications.”

In fact, a five-month study of 116 patients at Mayo Clinic Health System identified an average of three-and-a-half drug therapy problems per patient. The study found that 25 percent of the drug therapy problems were related to adverse drug reactions; 24 percent were related to unnecessary drug therapy; and 12 percent were related to an excessive dosage. After MTM consultation with 90 of these patients, 238 resolution recommendations were accepted by patients and their providers, and an estimated $267.92 in medical costs per patient was saved over a three-month period.

“There are a few common reasons people are experiencing these medication issues, which include seeing multiple doctors, self-medicating with over-the-counters and not fully understanding the side effects,” says Imberg. “Many patients assume certain side effects are related to their age or are too small to mention. But in reality, we need to discuss all aspects of how the patient feels regardless of age and severity of discomfort.”

Thanks to Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato for sharing this story. © 2012 Mayo Clinic Health System.