How to start a diabetes management service

September 12, 2005

Once patients are diagnosed with diabetes, the most significant challenges are the need for aggressive follow-up care and appropriate education for patient self-management. Studies have shown that diabetic patients see their pharmacist seven times more often than their physician.

Editor's note: With this article, we're launching a how-to series designed to help pharmacists set up a variety of screening and management services. This one is on diabetes screening. Future articles, to be published on a quarterly basis, will cover everything from hypertension to osteoporosis.

"The rise of pharmaceutical care and the need to decrease healthcare costs fostered the development of pharmacy-based disease management programs," said Jorge Parrales, R.Ph., Pharmacy Value in Guttenberg, N.J. Through a diabetes patient management service (DPMS), Parrales and his colleague Adalberto Aguero, R.Ph., routinely provide support to their diabetic patients.

Implementing a DPMS

Step 1: Foundational planning

Before implementing any patient care service, assess the needs of your patients and other healthcare providers within your community. "We evaluated the patients at our practice site and ran an audit trail on prescriptions for diabetes medications and products," said Parrales. "We informed our patients about our diabetes services." Parrales suggested that pharmacists set up a time to meet with patients individually or in a formal group.