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Adding Pharmacists To Docs’ Offices Helps Patient Outcomes

November 15, 2010

Adding pharmacists to the primary care team right in doctors’ offices may help patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes better manage associated risks, a new University of Alberta study had found.

The blood pressure of patients with Type 2 diabetes dropped significantly when pharmacists were included in the on-site clinical examination and consulting process, the U of A study showed. Among 153 patients whose hypertension was inadequately controlled at the beginning of the study, the 82 who had advice from a pharmacist were more likely to reach blood pressure treatment targets recommended by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

As well, the study showed that with input from pharmacists, the predicted 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease for patients with Type 2 diabetes will drop by three per cent.

The results were reported online by Diabetes Care, and are scheduled to appear in the January 2011 issue of the journal. The study can currently be found online at http://diabetes.org/diabetescare.

“Pharmacists can play a more active role in primary care and community clinics,” said Scot Simpson, lead author of the study. “We’ve already been actively collaborating on health care teams for years in hospitals.”

Placing pharmacists in the doctor’s office instead of in a more traditional role at the neighbourhood pharmacy allows for a more collaborative frontline approach to medication management in primary care, Simpson said.

“The doctors, nurses and pharmacists can directly discuss issues specific to any one patient, and by doing so, have the best outcome for the patient.”

High blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors are common in people with diabetes, so effective management of medications is key to helping reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, Simpson added.

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