SafeMed is an initiative developed by the University of Tennessee in partnership with Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare and funded by a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Health Care Innovation Award. The University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, TN, was the original SafeMed site. The program used in Memphis can be adapted by individual practices to:
Reduce drug therapy problems
Reduce patient morbidity and mortality resulting from preventable drug therapy problems
Reduce avoidable hospital readmissions
Improve medication adherence
Improve disease management
Improve patient health
As part of the SafeMed program, a report is run every morning that indicates to the clinic which of its assigned patients has been hospitalized within the last 24 to 72 hours. This allows the SafeMed nurse leader to help determine which patients might benefit from SafeMed care transitions support so that home visits can be scheduled. Regular home visits are typically scheduled at two and four weeks post-discharge. The community health workers (CHW) are the primary point of contact for patients. The CHW meet with the SafeMed team physician, pharmacist and nurse leaders on a daily basis, both in person and by phone, to address specific medication problems or care management issues identified during home visits. The CHW also meet with the SafeMed team leaders as a group on a weekly or monthly basis to conduct case reviews and refine care plans.
Program participants are invited to regular clinic-based SafeMed peer group support and educational sessions. Support session topics can be suggested by patients to meet their needs and may include speakers and discussions, but should primarily employ group problem-solving techniques. The support sessions are used to empower patients to ask questions and help them better navigate the health system. It is recommended that each patient remain in the program for a minimum of 3 months to receive the maximum benefit from the approach.
The SafeMed experience in Memphis reported by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center suggests that using a care transitions team model can have a very positive effect on a practice and its patients.
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