Dr. Kwansah Ndemo
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has become the buzzword for stakeholders and consumers of any healthcare system around the world. It is crucial to distinguish between universal health coverage and universal healthcare coverage. Achieving universal healthcare coverage for any country is unrealistic. On the other hand, achieving universal health coverage is possible.
Universal healthcare coverage is not practical as a healthcare system cannot cover all human ills known to man. Rather, UHC is a prioritisation of basic healthcare services available to all with an emphasis to all with an emphasis on prevention, screening and health promotion at no cost.
With a clear picture of UHC, healthcare delivery can be defined. Healthcare delivery is the organisation of providers, managers, leaders and facilities to provide healthcare services in an efficient, effective, safe and affordable way.
To achieve optimal healthcare delivery, it is essential for any healthcare organization to be aligned with UHC initiatives that are centred in developing the patient-centred medical home model.
The patient-centred medical home (PCMH) is a healthcare delivery model in which healthcare providers collaborate as a team to efficiently coordinate comprehensive, continuous medical care to patients by maximisation of positive health outcomes.
PCMH ensures patients receive timely, efficient, error-free care through effective use of health information technology. PCMH is a primary care initiative and aligns well with UHC initiatives. PCMH improves the current, poor delivery of healthcare services that affect the realisation of UHC.
The benefits of PCMH have been documented from the United States healthcare system and are listed below.
- Reduction of healthcare cost with better health outcomes
- Improved patient and provider satisfaction with better care coordination
- Better retention of patients and providers in a health insurance plan
- Emphasis on comprehensive, preventative care that avoids delayed interventions
- Better collaboration, that is patient-centric, between healthcare providers as a team
- Optimal environment for accessing and sharing vital patient data
- Transparent and meaningful reporting on progress towards measurable outcomes
- Transparent reporting on medical errors and finding ways to reduce them
Every healthcare provider including community health workers have a role to play in PCMH. Physicians, nurses, pharmacotherapy specialist pharmacists and community health workers are essential to the successful delivery of PCMH and achievement of UHC goals.
The definition of pharmacotherapy specialist pharmacist in PCMH is crucial in realizing the benefits of the model. Optimal drug therapy management is central to achieving better health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. However, optimal drug therapy management is hinged on accurate diagnoses. Physicians and pharmacotherapy specialist pharmacists are important members of the PCMH team.
When treating health conditions, drug therapy is the most sought after healthcare intervention due to its non-invasiveness. Therefore, drug therapy becomes important in monitoring therapeutic benefits.
Pharmacotherapy specialists are central to drug therapy monitoring. They are a resource for healthcare providers as well as patients with unresolved drug therapy questions. The specialist pharmacists reduce medical errors associated with drug therapy.
Current complexities of biomedicine and drug therapy are prompting health systems around the world to enhance realization of UHC. The goal is to create affordable, accessible, equitable and safe healthcare.
The writer is Pharmacotherapy specialist, Medication Therapy Management (MTM) practitioner, MPH candidate, CEO & Co-founder of TruPharmaCare
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