May 6, 2011

Walgreens Now in Minimal Primary Care Mode

When I wrote about this back in November, I thought this was going to be a lot more comprehensive primary care. It may well get there, but for now Walgreens is doing something positive and at a reasonable cost. For people without insurance, this could be very beneficial. And time will determine if this is successful.

Walgreens is advising people that test over the limits to consult their doctor and share the results with the doctor. The one question bothering me is whether they require fasting before the taking the tests. If people can just walk in and have the tests done, then this could be a weakness in the system that needs to be corrected to make the tests more reliable.

The press release did state that the tests are not for diagnostic and treatment purposes and they are not conclusive as to the absence or presence of any health condition. Since the pharmacists administer the tests by finger stick this would have to be the case. The costs of the tests are - total cholesterol and HDL - $30; blood glucose - $20; A1C (for self-identified diabetics only) - $35; and blood pressure - free with every health test. This totals to $85.

While the tests are not cheap for the finger stick method, this could give people an idea about whether to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. Not all Walgreens stores and outlets are doing these tests, you can look here for one near you that does the tests.

This if nothing more is doing some preventive care and for people over certain ages should at least have these test on a regular basis. This is explained in the article here, and should be read by everyone. One age requirement is that the person must be at least age 18 or older.

At present, I have not read about any other national or regional pharmacies offering these tests, but I am sure we will hear about this if and when it happens.

May 4, 2011

Will We Gain An Advantage Over Diabetes Misinformation?

This is something that many should watch for in the following months. It could be a huge advantage for us or for some of us it may be a bust. It will depend on whether the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist (AACE) follows their own recent guidelines allowing for individualized goals or if that will not be a part of this and individualized goals will be ignored for safety reasons.

We will need to watch for when this will happen on the AACE web site. The information that will be presented will be the AACE, cosponsoring the new online resource with Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The launch date is to be sometime in June. At present the emphasis seems to be for Type 2 diabetes. If this can fill the gap in education needed by people unaware of hypoglycemia mentioned in my last blog, then it will have succeeded quite well.

According to the spokesman, this will be a valuable resource for patients and health professionals as it will direct them to sources for new research and patient education. Whether the site will allow both sides to be seen by patients will remain to be seen.

The purpose of the new web site is to direct patients to educational resources that provide credible information about diabetes. It will not be there to provide a new patient information about diabetes, but assist them in avoiding unreliable information. It will be available for patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to aid all in forming a foundation for treatment and care decisions.

The sites they will be directed to will be vetted by AACE diabetes experts and the sites will be evaluated for quality and accuracy in the information it provides to patients and health professionals. The experts say that about 90 percent of people get their information from the internet and that on good days, 20 percent at most is reliable.

They also state that 90 to 95 percent of diabetics never see a specialist. So this is a resource of for thousands of physicians who provide healthcare to people with Type 2 diabetes. They want the online resource to help these healthcare professional to give them the most current guidelines for Type 2 diabetes treatment and methods for establishing individualized care plans for their patients with diabetes.

There is a lot to be done and it is going to be interesting to see the outcome of this effort. We do need this, if nothing more than a way to start eliminating many of the “cure” sites and sites that propagate much misinformation. It will also be interesting to see of the media picks up on this and does any research to improve their reporting.

Read the article here.

May 2, 2011

Why Are You Not Wearing Medic Alert Jewelry?

The DOC (diabetes online community) keeps bringing up the topic of people with diabetes getting into trouble in our hospitals. This is not a good thing, but if people learn from this and want to apply the added knowledge to prevent problems for themselves and others in the future, then the experience, while not desirable, has given them a good lesson.

Many of the situations are crying for solutions. When entering the hospitals for a scheduled event, and when entering the hospitals in emergencies, all seem to have problems with hospital staff not caring about the fact that they have diabetes or lack of education by the hospital staff in caring for people with diabetes.

Many people are calling for education, but this will not work until the hospitals develop a more caring attitude and pass this down to the staff. This is a top down problem and can only be solved when hospital administration enforces a caring attitude and assists in education for the weak areas. Presently, hospitals are more interested in profits and the new laws coming into effect over the next few years and how the laws will affect hospital profits than they are in patient care or safety. A few hospitals are in the minority in putting care and patient safety first. Many of these are the non-profit hospitals.

Many people are correct in their complaints. What I am not seeing is what actions are being taken to prevent problems in the future. No one is talking about patient rights. No one is talking about having patient advocates available. No one is talking about wearing any medical alert jewelry to alert medical personnel from EMTs to doctors in the ER to the fact the person has diabetes and which type.

So I will take this opportunity to suggest a little education of friends or a trusted friend, if you do not have a family member that can act for you, should be high on the list of things to do. If the same person can act as an advocate for you so much the better. Just make sure that the trusted family member or trusted friend knows what is required and has the necessary papers to act on your behalf if needed. Make sure that you carry a list of contacts that hopefully will not be lost in an accident.

Then make sure that you are wearing a piece of jewelry that had the medical information necessary for law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and hospital staff will know that you have diabetes. If you have alert jewelry and if people call the number listed, you should have help.

If you do not do any of the above and an emergency happens, then you will have to be satisfied if something goes wrong. Many people with Type 2 diabetes will not disclose to others that they have diabetes. It is this that gets them into problems. Vanity also gets people into trouble because they will not be seen wearing medic alert jewelry, or as some people are now doing, having medical alert tattoos on different places of their body.

It is the people that do everything right and still have problems that I can sympathize with and agree they have been wronged.