Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Pharmacists Should Seize Opportunity to Help Patients Control Blood Pressure

Published Online: Friday, October 26, 2012
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans has high blood pressure, and more than half of those with high blood pressure don’t have it under control, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There is nothing that will save more lives than getting blood pressure under control,” stated CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, in a press release on the report. The CDC estimates that health care costs related to hypertension top $130 billion annually.
“The majority of people with high blood pressure are being treated with medicine and have seen a doctor at least twice in the past year, yet their condition is still not under control,” the press release added. That means that they also have been visiting a pharmacy to get their medicine. This seems like a great opportunity for a community pharmacy to establish a high blood pressure program to help those patients better manage their blood pressure.
I would start with taking a patient’s blood pressure before dispensing a refill of an anti-hypertensive medication. That could open up a conversation about how well the patient is doing. After several discussions, the person may be willing to join your program and pay you to help them achieve better blood pressure control. I would share my readings with the patient’s physician so they are aware of how you are trying to help the patient. Once they are aware of the services you are offering, the physician might consider referring other problem hypertension patients to you as well.
This will require an initial investment of time before you have a chance to get paid, but that is often the case in starting a new program. What we are presently doing isn’t working. If we want to get paid for filling a new role, we had better start demonstrating that we can make a difference. Do you have a better way that we can demonstrate our value?

Previous Pharmacy Times coverage of pharmacist blood pressure monitoring programs:
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
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This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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