UW Pharmacy Team Plays Role in Health Care Initiative

September 26, 2012

A team of researchers from the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences has joined an effort to transform the delivery of health care in Wyoming.

Under a $14.2 million federal grant received recently by Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, the UW researchers will focus on improving the use of medications and continuity of care to boost health and decrease health care costs. The research team is housed in UW’s School of Pharmacy and the UW Family Practice Residency Programs.

The project will virtually integrate community pharmacists from a six-county region into patient-centered medical home teams based at the Family Practice Residency Programs in Cheyenne and Casper. The teams will focus on people with diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and depression.

Coordinating the UW-led effort are Kem Krueger and Linda Martin, associate professors of pharmacy, and Jamie Hornecker, clinical associate professor of pharmacy.

“Under the leadership of the Wyoming Integrated Care Network, health care is moving to the patient-centered medical home model,” says Joseph Steiner, UW College of Health Sciences dean. “Providing pharmacist intervention and medication management is critical for that model to succeed, and this grant will provide the foundation for that to occur in Wyoming.”

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center received the $14.2 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. It’s intended to help the Wyoming Integrated Care Network -- an alliance of 15 Wyoming hospitals -- in its efforts to unite and lead health care partners in the transformation of health care delivery in the state.

Cheyenne Regional, in partnership with the network hospitals and other partners, will work to build “medical neighborhoods” across Wyoming. They’re designed to encourage the flow of information between clinicians and patients, resulting in well-coordinated care and exceptional patient experiences -- and reducing health care costs.

The pharmacy project is just one part of the broad health care initiative, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle, the UW researchers say. The goals are to:

  • Optimize medication use, which has been shown to improve health while reducing costs.
  • Serve as the medication connection between the patient, the patient-centered care team, and other health care providers.
  • Extend patient access to the other members of the patient-centered care team by remaining in the patient’s community.

“This puts Wyoming and UW at the forefront of changing the health care system to meet the demands of today’s consumers,” Steiner says. “It is a Wyoming solution to Wyoming’s health care needs but, more than that, it provides a model for the rest of the country.”

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