Patient Care

A Novel Pharmaceutical Care Model for High-Risk Patients

A medication optimization clinic improved patient adherence, disease outcomes, and communication among health care providers at an Indian Health Service facility.

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Nonadherence is a significant problem that has a negative impact on both patients and public health. Patients with multiple diseases often have complicated medication regimens, which can be difficult for them to manage. Unfortunately, nonadherence in these high-risk patients can have drastic consequences, including disease progression, hospitalization, and death, resulting in billions of dollars in unnecessary costs nationwide.1,2 The Wheel Model of Pharmaceutical Care (Figure) is a novel care model developed at the Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) in New Mexico to address these problems by positioning pharmacy as a proactive service. The Wheel Model of Pharmaceutical Care was designed to improve adherence and patient outcomes and to encourage communication among the patient, pharmacists, prescribers, and other health care team members.

Pharmacists are central to managing patients’ medication therapies and coordinating communication among the health care providers (HCPs).1,3 Medication therapy management (MTM), a required component of Medicare Part D plans, helps ensure appropriate drug use and reduce the risk of adverse events.3 Since pharmacists receive prescriptions from all of the patient’s HCPs, patients may see pharmacists more often than they see any other HCP. GIMC is currently piloting a new clinic, the Medication Optimization, Synchronization, and Adherence Improvement Clinic (MOSAIC), that was created to implement the Wheel Model of Pharmaceutical Care. MOSAIC aims to provide proactive pharmacy services and continuous MTM to high-risk patients and will enable the effectiveness of this new pharmaceutical care model to be assessed.


Studies have identified certain populations who are at an increased risk for nonadherence: the elderly, patients with complex or extensive medication regimens, patients with multiple chronic medical conditions, substance misusers, certain ethnicities, patients of lower socioeconomic status, patients with limited literacy, and the homeless.2,4 Federal regulations require that Medicare Part D plans target beneficiaries who meet specific criteria for MTM programs. Under these rules, plans must target beneficiaries with ≥ 3 chronic diseases and ≥ 8 chronic medications, although plans also may include patients with fewer medications and diseases.3 Although the Wheel Model of Pharmaceutical Care is postulated to be an accurate model for the ideal care of all patients, initial implementation should be targeted toward populations who are likely to benefit the most from intervention. For these reasons, elderly Native American patients who have ≥ 2 chronic diseases and who take ≥ 5 chronic medications were targeted for initial enrollment in MOSAIC at GIMC.


In MOSAIC, pharmacists act as the hub of the pharmaceutical care wheel. Pharmacists work to ensure optimization of the patient’s comprehensive, integrated care plan—the rim of the wheel. As a part of this optimization process, MOSAIC pharmacists facilitate synchronization of the patient’s prescriptions to a monthly or quarterly target fill date. The patient’s current medication therapy is organized, and pharmacists track which medications are due to be filled instead of depending on the patient to request each prescription refill. This process effectively changes pharmacy from a requested service to a provided service.


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