Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/13/2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

William R. Doucette


Medication-related problems (MRPs) are a common issue that lead to suboptimal healthcare outcomes and increased healthcare cost. Overall, older adults have a high risk of experiencing MRPs due to large medication consumption and recession of biological functions. One approach to reduce such a risk is for elderly patients to use comprehensive medication reviews (CMRs), the fundamental service of Medication Therapy Management (MTM). The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has been promoting CMRs among Medicare Part D beneficiaries since 2009, such as offering of an annual free CMR to eligible MTM beneficiaries and making “CMR completion rate” a quality rating (Star) measurement for Part D plans. However, statistics from the report of CMS 2017 Star rating measures showed that the CMR completion rate among MTM eligible was still low. Even though Medicare Part D beneficiaries ultimately make the decision, there are insufficient U.S. studies examining patient perceived factors affecting their use of CMRs. Thus, there is critical need to better understand decision making for using CMRs from a consumer perspective.

This dissertation project aimed to explore Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ perceptions on using a CMR, using a conceptual framework adapted from consumer decision making, which consisted of internal need, external influence, perceived risks of using CMRs, and alternative comparison. The dissertation project also aimed to describe how CMR recipients and non-recipients were different and to identify main factors associated with Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ decision making for using CMRs.

To achieve these objectives, this study used an exploratory sequential mixed-method approach in a cross-sectional setting. Semi-structured personal interviews were conducted as the qualitative phase followed by self-administered mailed survey as the quantitative phase. Both interview questions and survey items were developed based on the conceptual framework, though findings from qualitative phase informed the survey item generation as well. Survey items and administration were further refined using a panel of expert review and pilot study. A convenient sample consisted of older adults recruited from one pharmacy in Iowa and a senior registry maintained by University of Iowa was used for the qualitative phase (n = 13). The quantitative study sample were randomly selected from each sampling frame: 1) elderly residents of the States of Florida (n = 320), Washington (n = 320), Wisconsin (n = 320), and Pennsylvania (n = 320) covered in a commercial mailing list; and 2) older adults included in the same senior registry used for the qualitative phase (n = 460). The study inclusion criteria were: 1) must be at least 65 years old in 2016, 2) must be taking at least one prescription currently, and 3) must be a Medicare Part D beneficiary. A thematic analysis was conducted for qualitative data, using MaxQDA version 12. Descriptive analysis and multiple logistic regression modeling were used to analyze data of the quantitative phase, using SAS version 9.4.

A total of 13 study participants were included in the qualitative analysis, of which 5 were CMR recipients. The thematic analysis yielded five themes, which supported the use of the conceptual framework (i.e. internal need, external influences, perceived risks of using CMRs, and alternative comparison) to understand Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ decision making for using CMRs. Plus, consumers who received a CMR expressed a positive attitude towards them. Safety worriers or knowledge seekers appeared more likely to use CMRs while physician believers or privacy worriers are more likely to not use CMRs. Meanwhile, awareness of CMRs remains low after being available for 7 years, possibly due to an infrequent marketing activity.

An overall usable response rate of 26.8% and an overall completion rate of 89.4% were obtained in the mailed survey phase. Of the study sample, 381 respondents who were Medicare Part D beneficiaries, were using at least one prescription, and returned a complete survey were included for analysis. There were 27.56% respondents (n = 105) reported that they had a CMR in 2016 or before, which was consistent with the low CMR completion rate nationwide. Meanwhile, about two thirds of respondents never heard of CMRs, supporting findings from the qualitative phase. CMR recipients and non-recipients had several characteristics differences in the domain of internal need, external influences, and perceived risks of using CMRs. Compared to CMR non-recipients, CMR recipients took slightly more prescription medications (p = 0.0299), were self-reported less healthy (p = 0.0009), had better provider communication in previous pharmacy encounters (p < 0.0001), had higher overall satisfaction in previous pharmacy encounters (p = 0.0053), perceived more seriousness of MRPs (p = 0.0016), perceived more susceptibility of MRPs (p < 0.0001), expected more positive outcome from suing CMRs (p < 0.0001), were more likely influence by a physician’s opinion (p = 0.0184) or a pharmacist’s opinion (p < 0.0001) when considering the use of CMRs, were more likely received a physician recommendation (p < 0.0001) or a pharmacist recommendation (p < 0.0001), had less concern of psychological risk (p = 0.0170), functional risk (p < 0.0001), and social risk (p = 0.0016). The regression modeling further determined that a pharmacist or a physician recommendation, pharmacist’s communication in previous pharmacy encounters, perceived susceptibility of MRPs, and positive outcome expectancy were positively associated with Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ decision making for using CMRs at a significant level of .05, when holding other variables fixed. Meanwhile, perceived functional risk, access to general counseling in previous experiences, and family/friends influence were negatively associated with Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ decision making for suing CMRs at a significant level of .05, when holding other variables fixed.

This study is the first to adapt consumer behavior frameworks to explore factors affecting Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ decision making for using CMRs. Unfortunately, it was found that CMR awareness among older population was still low after years’ of promotion efforts among Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Findings of this dissertation suggested that policy makers should not entirely focus on promoting CMRs through Part D plan sponsors, but seek for collaborations from healthcare professionals, particularly community pharmacists and physicians. Meanwhile, addressing key components and benefits of CMRs in an understandable way to general older population could help them establish a link between benefit expectation and their demand. Furthermore, using short surveys or phone interviews to obtain self-perceived internal need among older population could be used by Part D plans or other stakeholders to target potential CMR users more effectively.


Comprehensive Medication Review, Consumer Behavior, Health Service Research, Older Adults


xvii, 308 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-308).


Copyright © 2017 Yiran Zhang

Available for download on Saturday, July 13, 2019