Community pharmacists across the country are in a key position to provide diagnostic screening for a patient population that has been traditionally resistant to medical attention: America's men.
That is the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. They found that pharmacists screening men for a variety of medical disorders discovered an average of 3 previously undiagnosed health risks for each man assessed.
The study, part of the National Community Pharmacists Association's (NCPA's) Men's Health Care Initiative, involved 29 pharmacists in pharmacies across the country. These pharmacists were provided with a unique "Men's Health Risk Assessment Tool" (MHRAT) to collect data on the medical history of more than 380 men. Most of the men had not received a physical examination within the past year.
The pharmacists identified nearly 1200 significant, or previously undiagnosed, health conditions, and approximately 50% of the men screened by the pharmacists were recommended for a physician evaluation. Half of the patients screened were found to have high cholesterol, 44% had hypertension, diabetes was a problem for 43%, and 40% were determined to be at risk for prostate cancer.
"Pharmacists' screenings using the MHRAT resulted in 186 follow-up visits to a physician and resulted in nearly one new prescription per man," NCPA officials said. Calling these screenings "the crucial step in getting men to seek follow-up physician care," the group said the study results confirm that "community pharmacists can play a key role in identifying health care problems in their patients and/or communities."