Purdue University Graduate School
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Positive Deviants for Medication Therapy Management: A Mixed-Methods Comparative Case Study of Community Pharmacy Practices

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posted on 2019-08-12, 18:11 authored by Omolola A AdeoyeOmolola A Adeoye


More than 90% of individuals aged 65 years or older in the United States (US) are taking at least one prescription medication, and more than 40% are taking five or more prescription medications. The potential for non-adherence and risk of medication therapy problems (MTPs) increases with the use of multiple medications. To enhance patient understanding of appropriate medication use, improve medication adherence, and reduce MTPs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services as part of Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) policy; however, “best practices” for achieving positive MTM outcomes are not well understood.


This study had two objectives. The first objective was to identify and explain reasons for concordance and discordance between a) consistently high, moderate, and low performing pharmacies and b) pharmacies that improve or worsen in performance overtime. The second objective was to generate hypotheses for strategies that contribute to community pharmacies’ ability to achieve high performance on widely accepted MTM quality measures.


This comparative mixed-methods, case study design incorporated two complementary conceptual models. First, an adaptation of the Positive Deviance (PD) model explains reasons for deviations in MTM quality measure performance among community pharmacies and informs study design. Second, the Chronic Care Model (CCM) guided data collection and analysis. Data consisted of pharmacy/staff demographics and staff interviews. When appropriate, quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed within and across pharmacy MTM performance (i.e., high, moderate, low) or change-in-performance (i.e., consistent, improved, worsened) categories using descriptive statistics and cross-tabulation respectively. MTM performance component measures used to evaluate and rank pharmacy MTM performance mirrored measures under Domain 4 (Drug Safety and Accuracy of Drug Pricing) of the 2017 CMS Medicare Part D Plan’ Star Rating measures. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Purdue University Human Research Protection Program.


Across the sample of eligible pharmacies (N = 56), MTM performance composite scores varied by 21.3%. Of the five component scores, the Comprehensive Medication Review (CMR) component score had the highest percent variation (88.3%). Pharmacy staff at 13 pharmacies of the 18 pharmacies selected as case study sites participated in interviews, yielding a 72.2% case pharmacy participation rate. Of the 13 pharmacies, five were categorized as high performers, four were moderate performers, and four were low performers. Of the 39 pharmacy staff approached across all pharmacies, 25 participated in interviews, yielding a 64.1% participation rate. Interviewees included 11 pharmacists, 11 technicians and three student interns. Eight strategies were hypothesized as positively (7) or negatively (1) contributing to pharmacies’ MTM performance. Hypotheses generated were organized by CCM elements and included: Delivery System Design (DSD) – Having a high degree of technician involvement with MTM activities; Inability to meet cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic needs of patients (negative); Having sufficient capacity to provide CMRs to patients in person compared to telephone alone; Pharmacy staff placing high priority on addressing MTM activities; Clinical Information Systems (CIS) – Faxing adherence-related MTP recommendations and calling providers on indication-related MTP recommendations; Technicians’ use of CISs to collect/document information for pharmacists; Using maximum number of available CISs to identify eligible MTM patients; Health System Organizations (HSO) – Strong pharmacist-provider relationships and trust. No hypotheses were generated for the remaining three CCM elements.


A total of eight strategies were hypothesized as contributing to community pharmacies’ ability to achieve high performance on MTM quality measures. Notable strategies were related to three of the six chronic care model elements. Future research should engage stakeholders to assist with prioritizing hypotheses to be statistically tested in a larger representative sample of pharmacies.


Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

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Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Pharmacy Practice

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair


Additional Committee Member 2


Additional Committee Member 3