Using a combination approach, incorporating face-to-face encounters with pharmacists, dietitians, and other health care providers and incorporating newer digital capabilities is an effective way to counsel patients with diabetes, according to a presentation at the American Pharmacists Association (APHA) 2018 meeting held in Nashville this week.

Brooke Hudspeth, PharmD, CDE, Diabetes Care, The Kroger Co. explained how her company is carving a path by participating in the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP). The Kroger Co. followed the CDC’s guidelines for early diabetes prevention to prevent or delay the onset of type 2, while improving overall patient health, she said.

There are 30.3 million Americans living with diabetes, and 84 million Americans have prediabetes, Hudspeth said. She noted 9 out of 10 adults with prediabetes are unaware they have it.

Following NDPP guidelines for early prevention programs, The Kroger Co. established patient-centered processed that involved collecting and assessing patient records, while connecting those enrolled in the study with lifestyle coaches.

"It's a yearlong program, with a CDC-approved curriculum, that encourages healthy activity, managing stress, and really enforcing those behaviors that can result in lifelong behavior change," she said.

Pharmacists can take 3 steps to help with the prevention of diabetes, Hudspeth said. First, they can promote awareness of prediabetes and the NDPP.
The national program relies on public-private partnerships to help build a workforce to implement lifestyle changes effectively, ensure quality, and stardized reporting, and increase referrals.

Hudspeth encouraged pharmacists to screen, test, and refer people at-risk to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program. Finally, pharmacies can become CDC-recognized organizations to provide further assistance.

She noted that as one of the most accessible health care providers with numerous locations, and the ability to scale, it is important for pharmacists to become increasingly involved in diabetes care. She said their model of collaboration, with the oversight of a clinician as well, is an example of "what wour roles [as pharmacists] can be in delivering this program and how we can work to solve this problem in our country."