When the Asheville Project launched in 1997, it involved just 47 patients. The idea was simple?yet bold for its time. The City of Asheville, NC, in partnership with the pharmacy departmentat Mission Hospitals, wanted to find out whether a proactive, collaborative, and patient-centeredapproach to diabetes management might result in healthier employees and lower health carecosts.
Now, 10 years later, I think everyone would agree: the experiment worked. Asheville-based modelshave been deployed by 80 employers in 14 states, and interest in the initiative continues togrow. The project has expanded beyond diabetes to include other chronic diseases such as asthmaand hypertension, as well as a broad range of prevention and employee wellness programs.
We at Pharmacy Times are pleased to have the support of Takeda Pharmaceuticals in presentingAsheville Today. In this supplement, we explore the reasons why this innovative collaboration hastaken hold, looking at it through the eyes of its founders and stakeholders?community and hospital-based pharmacists, physicians, health educators, policymakers, employers, and patients.
We show how the Asheville pioneers tapped local expertise and brought everyone on board. Wedemonstrate how this approach can be adapted to the needs and resources of any community andhighlight the pivotal role hospital pharmacy plays in that process. We offer advice on the trainingcomponents necessary for pharmacists to assume their roles as health care coaches at the hubof disease management programs. We also hear testimonials from patients themselves, who creditthe project with turning their lives around.
A decade after its inception, the Asheville model is now well established. Its success and replicationnationwide attest to the crucial role pharmacists play as agents of change and leaders in thedelivery of quality, cost-effective patient care services.
Fred M. Eckel, RPh, MS
James R. Granato