The “usual care” for most patients with a chronic disease is management of the condition by a health care provider. A new model of chronic disease management might make more sense, at least for some patients. When a clinical pharmacist heads up the care team, patients actually show improved outcomes and better access to health care.
A review of research recently sought to determine the potential effectiveness and benefits of a pharmacist-led chronic disease management style. After reviewing and synthesizing data from 63 different studies, some clear patterns emerged.
First, the pharmacist-led care was at least as beneficial as usual care models, with a similar number of office visits, urgent care/ER visits, and hospitalizations between both groups.
Second, the pharmacist-led care demonstrated superiority in terms of medication possession rates in patients.
Third – and this is the big one – patient outcomes improved with pharmacists at the center of the health care team. Markers of patient outcomes, which in this study included blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, simply were better when pharmacists led the care team.
This study offers yet another piece of evidence showing that pharmacists are skilled in providing chronic care management. I recall one university center medical director describing this model as a “safety net.”
Beyond that, it’s important to note that this is not about characterizing physician- or nurse-led teams as inferior, but rather it serves to validate our pharmacist-led model at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy. It’s clear that a service model based on collaborative, interventional clinical pharmacists focused on chronic disease therapy provides great value. Patients generally see many different physicians, yet having us review and consolidate all the therapies into a single source—which at BioPlus happens with our TAP App tool – ensures that the right decisions for the patient can be made by all the care providers on a patient’s team.
Greer N, Bolduc J, Gerurkink E, et al. Pharmacist-led chronic disease management: A systemic review of effectiveness and harms compared with usual care. Ann Intern Med April 26, 2016 [online first].
Stephen C. Vogt, Pharm.D.
President and CEO
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy
What do you think?
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