The MMS Story
Although Medication Management Systems was incorporated formally in April 2006, the story of the company begins more than 25 years ago. This story explains why MMS is different–why when you establish a relationship with MMS, you are taking on a practice, teaching and research tradition with a very sound foundation in the area of medication management. We would like to share that story with you.
As early as 1977, Linda Strand (now Vice President of Professional Services at MMS) began asking the question: What do pharmacists contribute that is unique and of value to the care of the patient? No one seemed to have a good answer to that question. Yet, it seemed logical that pharmacists would have to manage medications better than other patient care providers if there was to be a lasting, meaningful role for the pharmacist. When her research indicated that a rational, systematic, and comprehensive decision making process for drug therapy decisions did not exist, she set out to define one.
Dr. Strand needed the help of a very successful clinician in order to successfully define the decision making process for drug therapy decisions. She found this in Dr. Robert Cipolle (now founder and board member of MMS). The two of them created the logical thought process that is now known as the Pharmacotherapy Workup. As this thought process is a problem solving process, it became necessary to define a taxonomy for all the possible drug therapy problems so practitioners would know what they are looking for in practice. This required a significant amount of research and resulted in the seven categories of drug therapy problems that has become the standard way of classifying drug therapy problems around the world.
It became clear that the Pharmacotherapy Workup and the taxonomy of drug therapy problems did not “fit” into traditional pharmacy practice. These tools were meant to be used on a patient specific basis creating the necessity for a new, primary care, patient-centered practice for the pharmacist. This required expertise from the area of medicine and Dr. Peter Morley, a medical anthropologist, who had worked in the fields of medicine and nursing, was invited to join the research endeavors of Drs. Strand and Cipolle. Dr. Doug Hepler then joined efforts to provide the conceptual framework for pharmaceutical care practice. As a result, the term “pharmaceutical care” and portions of a practice were developed; however, a comprehensive patient care practice of pharmaceutical care was yet to be developed.
In 1992, Drs. Strand, Cipolle and Morley received funding to define this practice. They worked with 54 pharmacists in 20 different practice sites in the Minnesota Pharmaceutical Care Project to accomplish this goal. This project resulted in the definition of the practice of pharmaceutical care, the development of a computerized documentation system (which is the beginning of the Assurance System now available at MMS), a reimbursement system based on the Resource Based Relative Value System, a practitioner training program and clinical and economic outcomes from 13,000 patient encounters. Based on the results of this project, the worldwide dissemination and implementation of this innovative practice began.
In 1998, Strand, Cipolle and Morley produced the book that documents the practice, the management system to deliver the practice, the data that documents the cost-effectiveness of the practice and the data structure required to support the practice. This book was completely revised in 2004 and is now available under the title of Pharmaceutical Care Practice: The Clinician’s Guide, published by McGraw-Hill.
Dr. Mike Frakes (Founder and Vice President of MMS) continuously improved the Assurance documentation system until the University of Minnesota purchased the system in 2002. The use of the program became widespread, however a web-based training program was needed to expand the practice. At the time, Amgen Pharmaceuticals was looking for educational endeavors to support patient care providers and a relationship was established with Dr. David McLean (a founder and Chairman of the Board at MMS), who was CEO of United HealthCare’s division and Tom Albers (a founder and Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Amgen supported the research that results in what now serves as the online training program for practitioners through MMS.
In 2006, the federal government passed legislation that required a select group of Medicare recipients to receive medication therapy management services. During that same year, Minnesota passed legislation that recognized and paid pharmacists for providing medication therapy management services to Medicaid recipients who met certain qualification criteria. In July of 2005, David McLean and Tom Albers started examining the potential for a private business to form around the provision of pharmaceutical care services. A number of events culminated in 2006 to make this a potentially successful endeavor.
The University of Minnesota formed a Business Development Division for the purpose of assisting faculty in the distribution of copyrighted, trademarked and patented work in the private sector. Medication Management Systems was selected as the first collaborative business. In addition, the federal government enacted Part D of the Medicare benefit for the elderly. As part of the drug benefit, medication therapy management services were required for a segment of the elderly population. A market was created for Medication Management Systems. In the same year, the state legislators in Minnesota made it possible for Medicaid patients to receive medication management services from pharmacists. Pharmacists were recognized and paid as patient care providers for the first time.
Dr. McLean and Mr. Albers negotiated an exclusive license to the Assurance™ software with the University of Minnesota and Medication Management Services, Inc. was born in April, 2006.
As the company grew and the client base expanded, the need for expertise in managed care pharmacy and pharmacy benefit management grew and Dr. Nate Schultz was added as President and COO of MMS in January of 2008. Since then, a number of staff have been added and business has grown at a steady rate. Medication Management Systems remains the most experienced staff in the area of medication therapy management.