December 20, 2013

Diabetes Management Relying on Pharmacists

Pharmacists are being relied on more and more to play a key role in diabetes management, especially for type 2 patients. With certified diabetes educators not adding membership at a pace to keep up with the increase in numbers of new type 2 patients, this is a welcome help for type 2 patients.

I will not include a single case study from Washington, but will use the national program Project IMPACT: Diabetes, a program launched in 25 communities across the United States with disproportionately high numbers of cases of diabetes.  This study found that many participants saw improved levels of A1c levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index. The data was compiled by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.

This data found that because patients had one-on-one consultations with their pharmacists, medications could be adjusted to better meet patients' needs, allowing for improved results. The study also had the pharmacists provide counseling on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes while collaborating with physicians, diabetes educators, and other healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care.

"Working together with pharmacists empowers all types of patients, rich and poor, insured and uninsured, anywhere in America, to take the steps they need to understand and manage their diabetes while living healthier lives."

"Everyone with diabetes faces challenges such as adhering to prescribed medications, monitoring blood glucose levels, staying current with vaccines and foot and eye exams, and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle," Lindsay Watson, RPh, director of applied innovation for the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, said in a press release.

I don't expect that all pharmacists are participating or anticipate being this involved in the needs of people with diabetes, but many are working to improve the lives of people with diabetes. Much of this is possible because people are more willing to talk to pharmacists than they are to doctors on a time schedule. Then think about the doctors belittling their patients and using threats to keep patients on oral medications and it is easy to understand why many patients are more willing to discuss medical problems with a non-judgmental pharmacist.

Another factor in favor of the pharmacists is across the United States in the smaller rural communities; the pharmacists are part of this community and receive the respect of the community. Helping their pharmacy customers is part of a natural outreach to their community.

If you haven't read my previous blog about a five state pharmacy group and how they are helping patients with diabetes, please do so as this could be what is needed to stop the diabetes epidemic.

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