By Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Walgreens and Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG) of Chicago have announced a new coordinated health care program designed to improve patient outcomes and enhance physician decision-making. Through the program, Walgreens will share with primary care physicians of selected patients the results of appropriately-timed pharmacist clinical interventions.
NMPG is a multi-site practice of primary care physicians who are on the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and who also practice at a number of other affiliated locations throughout Chicago, Northbrook and Lake County, Illinois.
“This relationship is a great example of how health care organizations can work together to improve patient care while also benefitting our health care system at large,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness, in a statement
. “We’ve already seen cases that speak to the effectiveness of the program and further demonstrate the important role our expansive network of pharmacists can play in the future of health care delivery.”
The program is being implemented for Walgreens and Northwestern Memorial employees who have NMPG as their primary care provider, and currently focuses on those with hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia. Patients with these high-cost chronic disease states will receive point-of-care counseling or an intervention as part of the integrated services offered.
Information from interventions will be provided to each patient’s primary care physician, giving physicians access to important clinical information from Walgreens.
“It’s invaluable for our physicians to have a pharmacist as a clinical partner sharing this type of information that can be critical to a patient’s health,” said Daniel Derman, MD, president of NMPG and vice president, Northwestern Memorial. “This benefits those patients tremendously because now there’s a richer conversation with their primary doctor that is supported by the pharmacy documentation. It’s a more complete way of serving patients and it’s particularly rewarding in this instance because those patients are also our employees.”
For each disease state, Walgreens pharmacists and NMPG physicians have collaboratively developed an intervention plan, with sessions comprised of a series of questions designed to maximize adherence and help patients best understand their disease.
“Many of our chronic disease patients tell us they see their pharmacist more often than they do their doctor,” Crawford said. “Giving physicians further insight into patient behaviors and working with them to spend more time talking with patients can help reduce health care costs and, more importantly, improve a patient’s overall health.”