Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pharmacists Help Diabetic Patients

The New York Times has an interesting piece today, New Job Title for Druggists: Diabetes Coach, which describes a program in Asheville, North Carolina to give free diabetes supplies and medications to municipal employees who agree to get monthly counseling from specially trained pharmacists. The city claims that as a result, "Within months of enrolling in the program, almost twice as many have their blood sugar levels under control. In addition, the city’s health plan has saved more than $2,000 in medical costs per patient each year." The pharmacists help the patients by reminding them of the importance of controlling the disease, answering questions, and identifying problems, solutions, and small steps the patients can take to improve their condition. Also from the story:
  • "During the first five years of the program, participants took an average of six sick days from work a year, half the number of previous years. Within three years of enrolling in the program, patients had halved their chances of going blind or needing dialysis or an amputation, a founder of the program said."
  • "What makes the Asheville Project unusual, the study found, is that at the end of the first year of the program, half the participants had their blood sugar under control. That number increased to two-thirds of the original group at the end of the program’s third year."
  • "John Miall, one of the founders of the Asheville program, who recently retired as the city’s director of risk management, said that within its first year the average annual health care cost for diabetic employees dropped to $3,554 from $6,127."

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    MeSH Tags: Diabetes Mellitus; Disease Management; Pharmacists

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