Written By: Olufunke Sokan, PharmD, Advanced Practice Pharmacist at the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions
In 2018, the University of Maryland Medical Center, the Baltimore City Fire Department, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) partnered to implement two Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) community paramedicine pilot programs in West Baltimore:
- Transitional Health Support (THS)
- Minor Definitive Care Now
Both patient-centered programs provide a broad range of health services to patients where and when the services are needed, helping to fill existing gaps in health care delivery, address social determinants of health, mitigate emergency department overcrowding, and reduce patient readmissions. The THS program specifically works to create the future of health care in West Baltimore by bringing health care to patients in their homes through a nurse-paramedic model. This model is supported by a multidisciplinary operations center, which includes advanced practice pharmacists from the School of Pharmacy’s eHealth Center, under the leadership of Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), and executive director of the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions (CIPS), which houses the eHealth Center, at the School.
Celebrating a Year of Stellar Success
In recognition of the outstanding work that the MIH team provides to the residents of West Baltimore, it was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Patty Brown Innovation Award from Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP). The award recognizes individuals and teams that contribute to advancing health care in Maryland. When presenting this award during its virtual conference on Nov. 10, CRISP stated, “MIH has demonstrated innovation in how it has engaged and collaborated with organizations across the health care continuum, and has led the pack by adopting pragmatic solutions with health information technology.”
It added, “Above all, it is obvious that MIH’s approaches are mission-driven and will continue to promote innovative and efficient results for many years to come.”
Leveraging Pharmacists for Patient-Centered Health Care Delivery
MIH’s THS program employs a multidisciplinary, cross-organizational team to address barriers in health care for high risk-patients during the transition from hospital to home. The School of Pharmacy and its eHealth Center pharmacists have been an integral part of the THS team and valuable contributors to the program’s success, leveraging telehealth and other innovative solutions to address each patient’s medication needs. The eHealth Center pharmacist performs comprehensive medication therapy management by reconciling patients’ medication lists, ensuring appropriate medication use, and making sure patients understand why they are taking their medications – all in a virtual format.
The pharmacist also ensures continuity of care by communicating any medication changes implemented during the patient’s hospital stay to their community-based providers.
Since MIH’s inception, more than 700 patients have received care from the THS team, and the program has maintained an average patient satisfaction score of 9.8/10.
Speaking about the School of Pharmacy’s role in the MIH initiative, Rodriguez de Bittner says, “We value our partnership with the MIH program and are very excited that this innovative initiative has been recognized by CRISP with such a prestigious award. I thank our eHealth Center pharmacist, Dr. Olufunke Sokan, and our director of operations, Dr. Sade Osotimehin, for their dedication and hard work. They are role models for practicing pharmacists and student pharmacists alike, demonstrating the critical role that our profession plays in transitions of care programs that leverage telehealth tools.”
To learn more about MIH, view the video below produced by CRISP and presented during the organization’s virtual conference in November.