Early Implementation of Comprehensive Medication Management within an Academic Medical Center Primary Care Pharmacy Team

  • Kyle Turner University of Utah College of Pharmacy
  • Jenni Buu University of Utah Health
  • Mary Kuzel University of Utah Health
  • Eve Van Wagoner University of Utah Health
  • Golden Berrett University of Utah Health
Keywords: comprehensive medication management, clinical pharmacy, implementation science, fidelity


Introduction: University of Utah Health is an academic health care system that serves residents in Utah and beyond. Clinical pharmacists with the health care system’s pharmacy primary care services (PPCS) team provide medication education, population-based care, and medication management through collaborative practice agreements. With the expansion of clinical pharmacist and technician positions and services, the need to measure and assess the impact of pharmacy services and create a value proposition for internal and external stakeholders became an important goal, and the decision was made to better align practices across all PPCS sites. This paper highlights University of Utah Health’s approach to implement comprehensive medication management (CMM) across all primary care clinics with embedded clinical pharmacy staff and subsequent evaluation of implementation fidelity.

Methods: Implementation of CMM was assisted by participation in the National A3 Collaborative and by using selected principles from the Active Implementation Framework. Stages of implementation included exploration, instillation, and initiating improvement cycles. An implementation team consisting of PPCS employees was created to help with standardization, developing implementation plans, and creating a dissemination strategy for all PPCS team members. The CMM care process was subsequently presented and implemented by clinical pharmacists in primary care clinics. Following implementation, fidelity measures were collected including identification and resolution of medication therapy problems (MTPs) and responses from a questionnaire distributed to the clinical pharmacists to self-report understanding and implementation of CMM key elements. The number and type of MTPs identified were tracked over 18 months.

Results: Within the measurement window, clinical pharmacists identified 17,953 MTPs. Of the total number of MTPs identified, 21% were related to indication, 53% to efficacy, 15% to safety and 11% to adherence. The questionnaire was distributed to clinical pharmacists 9 months after CMM implementation, with a 71% response rate. Pharmacists reported “always” or “often” performing each step in the patient care process as follows: indication (93%), effectiveness (93%), safety (87%), and adherence (93%). Reported barriers to implementation of the CMM include lack of time to complete all aspects of the process efficiently, lack of a standardized format for documentation, and changing practice habits.

Conclusion: Implementation of a CMM process within University of Utah Health’s PPCS services with the help of a national collaborative and implementation framework yielded identification of 17,953 MTPs over 18 months and foundational fidelity to core principles. 

article type

Clinical Experience


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Received 2020-02-07
Accepted 2020-03-25
Published 2020-04-10
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research