To optimize medication use in older adults, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services as part of Medicare Part D policy; however, strategies for achieving high quality MTM outcomes are not well understood.


The objective of this study was to generate hypotheses for strategies contributing to community pharmacies’ high performance on policy-relevant MTM quality measures.


This mixed-methods comparative case study was guided by the Positive Deviance approach and Chronic Care Model. The study population consisted of pharmacy staff employed by a Midwestern division of a national supermarket-community pharmacy chain. Data consisted of demographics and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews. Qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed deductively and inductively or using descriptive statistics, respectively. MTM quality measures used to evaluate participant pharmacies' MTM performance mirrored select 2017 Medicare Part D Plans’ Star Rating measures.


Thirteen of 18 selected case pharmacies (72.2%) participated in this study, of which 5 were categorized as high performers, 4 moderate performers, and 4 low performers. Eleven pharmacists, 11 technicians, and 3 student interns participated in interviews. Eight strategies were hypothesized as contributing to MTM performance: Strong pharmacy staff-provider relationships and trust, Inability to address patients’ social determinants of health (negatively contributing), Technician involvement in MTM, Providing comprehensive medication reviews in person vs. phone alone, Placing high priority on MTM, Using available clinical information systems to identify eligible patients, Technicians using clinical information systems to collect/document information for pharmacists, Faxing prescribers adherence medication therapy problems (MTPs) and calling on indication MTPs.


Eight strategies were hypothesized as contributing to community pharmacies’ performance on MTM quality measures. Findings from this work can inform MTM practice and Medicare Part D MTM policy changes to positively influence patient outcomes. Future research should test hypotheses in a larger representative sample of pharmacies.


This is the author-accepted manuscript of:
Omolola A. Adeoye-Olatunde, Leslie M. Lake, Celena A. Strohmier, Amanda K. Gourley, Ashli R. Ray, Alan J. Zillich, Margie E. Snyder, Positive deviants for medication therapy management: A mixed-methods comparative case study of community pharmacy practices, Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Volume 17, Issue 8, 2021, Pages 1407-1419, ISSN 1551-7411,

Copyright Elsevier, this version is shared CC-BY-NC-ND, and the version of record is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.10.006.

Date of this Version