Pharmacists Can Improve Diabetes Management

Article

Pharmacists improve care for patients in many settings, especially for diabetes.

Pharmacists are slowly changing the way they deliver their services. Previous professional literature has demonstrated pharmacists' potential through studies of how clinical pharmacists improve care for patients in many settings, especially for diabetes. Despite research on clinical outcomes and cost savings, no study has surveyed providers to evaluate what pharmacy services they find most valuable.

A team of researchers who collaborated with academics from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo asked primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants employed in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) to identify a broad range of clinical, cost/access, and educational pharmacy services they considered important. The cross-sectional online survey also asked about barriers to successful pharmacist incorporation. The survey response rate was 78%.

In terms of clinical services, providers appreciated medication counseling, medication reconciliation, adherence assessment, polypharmacy assessment, and drug information most.

Providers rated education about new black-boxed warnings, drug market withdrawals, and new drug reviews highest on their lists of priority services from pharmacists.

Diabetes medication selection and dose titration issues topped the list for pharmacist referrals, with 91% of providers noting they were comfortable referring patients with diabetes to a pharmacist.

Providers preferred an on-site pharmacist by a margin of 2 to 1.

Perceived barriers included lack of pharmacist availability, patient confusion about what pharmacists can and should do, and provider concern about pharmacists' competence to manage complex diseases.

The researchers concluded that PCMH should consider locating the pharmacist on-site as they develop and expand. This study appears in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice.

Reference

Albanese NP, Pignato AM, Monte SV. Provider perception of pharmacy services in the patient-centered medical home. J Pharm Pract. 2016; doi: 10.1177/0897190016679759.

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