The Medication Education Groups Taskforce, under the purview of the Legislative Committee initiated and sent a survey during the fall of 2012. The intent was to use the information from the survey to share resources related to group medication education that we are all using in our respective practice sites and to discuss terminology and billing mechanisms. The survey was sent only to those CPNP members who had replied to a listserv email regarding interest in provision of medication education groups.

The survey was sent to 72 individuals with 47 individuals responding to at least 1 question, for an overall response rate of 65%. Of the respondents, 41 individuals (87%) indicated that they are currently providing patient medication education groups. Most individuals (68.1%) provide patient group medication education in inpatient healthcare settings. The description of the type of patient medication education group services offered by respondents varied, with didactic based medication education (educational facts/professional led groups) being the most common type (72.3% of respondents).

Items/materials provided to participants in patient medication education groups varied widely and included, but was not limited to, locally developed medication information sheets (29.8% of respondents), medication information sheets available on the NAMI website (14.9%), a current medication list (17%), and other items (brief videos, games, pocket medication cards). Twenty-five percent of respondents indicated they do not provide any materials. Most respondents (61.7%) indicated they would be willing to share the educational materials they use in their patient medication education groups. See Table 1 for further summary of survey data.

Table 1:

Summary of Survey Data

Summary of Survey Data
Summary of Survey Data

Based on the results of the survey, it appears that there is a significant demand for group medication education services for patients. Most of the survey respondents indicated that they had initiated a new group education service successfully at their practice site and nearly half of the respondents (40%) indicated that they've been asked to initiate a new patient medication education group service, but had not initiated it yet. Since these data come from pharmacists at institutions where patient medication education groups are already being conducted, this may suggest that the value of the group service is being recognized. Surprisingly, more than half of the respondents (53.2%) indicated that non-pharmacist healthcare providers provide medication education groups at their institutions. This finding may have multiple implications and could represent lack of time availability for pharmacists to lead groups, lack of interest on the part of pharmacists possibly related to lack of funding, lack of recognition of pharmacists' expertise in this area or a host of other factors. It is concerning that pharmacists, the medication experts, may not delivering the majority of medication-related education to patients. We did not ask about reasons why group services had not yet been initiated and this may be an area for further exploration in the future.

Another important finding of this survey is that none of the respondents reported seeking third-party reimbursement for patient medication education group services provided. This may be a function of the setting in which the majority of these services are provided (inpatient settings, where traditionally it is discouraged for individual providers to bill, but rather a Diagnosis – Related Group (DRG) billing mechanism may be used). This also may be a reluctance on the part of pharmacists to submit claims due to the expectation that they will not be reimbursed. On a somewhat related note, just four respondents (9.5%) indicated that they collect outcome(s) data related to their patient medication education group service. The lack of outcomes associated with patient medication education group provision currently being collected and/or in the published literature may be related to lack of reimbursement for this service. Several respondents commented that they would like to further discuss the collection of outcomes related to patient medication education groups, to hear what others are doing and possibly form collaborations to increase the power of collected data.

The Medication Education Groups ad hoc taskforce has already reached out to survey respondents who expressed their willingness to share the materials they use in conducting their patient medication education groups. A folder entitled “Clinical Practice Patient Medication Education” has been created on CPNP's Shared Resources to support CPNP members who provide this type of group education service. Any members who are currently providing medication education group services are encouraged to contribute resources to this member-protected section of the website by clicking on the following link: The submission process for this form requires a title for the resource, selection of the “Clinical Practice Patient Medication Education” categorization, and a brief description of the resource including how the tool is used and with which patient populations. Either a document(s) can be uploaded and/or a web address(es) supplied.

A proposal has been accepted for a Round Table at the 2013 CPNP Annual Meeting to discuss collection of outcomes associated with patient medication education groups, and all attendees are welcome to participate.

The Patient Medication Education Group is a mode of providing education to two or more patients about medications and/or issues related to use of medications, with content tailored to the needs of the group members. The education may encompass any or all of the content items described in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists guidelines on pharmacist-conducted patient education and counseling.1 

The Patient Medication Education Group is an activity separate from the act of providing education at the time the patient receives the medication and may incorporate group dynamics and peer to peer interaction. The Patient Medication Education Group is also a distinct activity from a psychoeducational group, in terms of the expertise and training of the group leader in the area of pharmacotherapy. The primary focus of Patient Medication Education Groups is medication and issues related to pharmacotherapy. Examples of issues related to pharmacotherapy may include nutrition, substance abuse, stress management, or sleep hygiene. Finally, the Patient Medication Education Group is a specific intervention that may be included as part of a treatment plan to address drug-therapy problems identified by a pharmacist and/or other members of the patient care team.

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
ASHP guidelines on pharmacist-conducted patient education and counseling
Am J Health Syst Pharm
“ This guideline was reviewed in 2006 by the Council on Pharmacy Practice and by the ASHP Board of Directors and was found to still be appropriate.”