Pharmacists improve diabetes care, reduce costs

May 15, 2005

Workers who teamed with local pharmacists to better control their diabetes improved their blood glucose numbers and saved their bosses an average of $918 per year in a pilot program developed by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.

Workers who teamed with local pharmacists to better control their diabetes improved their blood glucose numbers and saved their bosses an average of $918 per year in a pilot program developed by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation.

At the one-year mark, the 300-plus employees enrolled in the Patient Self-Management Program for diabetes lowered their A1c numbers from 7.9% to 7.1%, bringing them close to the 7% goal set by the American Diabetes Association. In addition, the rate of influenza immunization rose to 77%, compared with 52% at baseline; the number of patients getting eye exams nearly doubled, to 82%; foot exams jumped by 42%; and 97% received lipid profiles, compared with only 54% when the pilot study began.

Underwritten by a grant from Sanofi-Aventis, the pilot involved diabetes patients who volunteered to be linked with pharmacists at employer sites at the Healthcare Coalition Cooperative in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin; Mohawk Industries in Dublin, Ga.; VF Corp. in Greensboro, N.C.; and the Kroger Co. and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The employers choose a pharmacist from a local provider network to help educate and empower workers to better manage their disease.

Getting patients to take charge of their own health is the philosophy behind the program, according to Dan Garrett, program project leader and APhA Foundation senior director for medication adherence. "Patients ultimately manage their own care. This program ensures that patients remain the focal point in the care process, work collaboratively with their healthcare providers, and become active partners in managing their disease to achieve better outcomes."