Allowing pharmacists to immunize patients cuts costs for patients, healthcare delivery
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Louisiana State Senate has given the green light to legislation that would expand pharmacy’s ability to administer immunizations, and now the House of Representatives is slated to vote on the legislation in the coming days. The passage of SB 60 is important because expanding the pharmacist’s ability to administer vaccinations is a relatively low-cost way to expand access and ultimately improve outcomes.
(THE NEWS: Louisiana seeks to expand pharmacy’s ability to immunize patients. For the full story, click here.)
In terms of the reach, look at Walgreens as an example, which has a network of certified immunizers and other healthcare professionals of more than 26,000. One of Walgreens’ most successful initiatives in fiscal year 2010 was its expanded flu shot program. Its pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners and physician assistants provided 5.4 million seasonal flu shots — more than four times the number the previous year — and another 2 million H1N1 shots.
What kind of effect can that have? Well, a study released in April by the Ohio Department of Health estimated that Ohio’s H1N1 vaccination efforts prevented 64 deaths, 1,400 hospitalizations and 310,402 cases of influenza during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The study also estimated that Ohio’s vaccination efforts saved the state $8.4 million in H1N1-related hospitalization costs.
To protect Ohio residents from the pandemic, ODH had ordered and shipped 4.1 million doses of vaccine to more than 3,000 providers, including obstetricians, primary care physicians, local health departments and pharmacies from across the state. In addition, ODH released more than $50 million in federal emergency public health preparedness funds — more than 90% of the funds received by Ohio — to support numerous vaccination clinics and prevention efforts at the local level.
Clearly, enabling pharmacists to administer immunizations, and thereby improving patient access to care, results in reduced costs for both patients and the overall healthcare delivery system.
Ford goes ‘under the hood’ of healthcare outreach
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — It’s often said that yesterday’s science fiction is tomorrow’s reality, and while automakers have yet to unveil flying cars similar to the ones in “Blade Runner,” the integration of WellDoc’s services with Ford Motor’s SYNC technology serves as a prime example.
(THE NEWS: Ford developing health care in the dashboard. For the full story, click here.)
Among developed countries, the United States is one of the most car-dependent. Given the amount of time that Americans spend in their cars and the sedentary lifestyles associated with car dependence, bringing together health and transportation — two of humanity’s most basic needs — is a natural extension to the overall trend of health and technology companies creating ways for patients to store and share health information with technology devices, a trend that until now mostly was limited to smartphone applications and computers.
And the opportunities that such innovations as Ford’s create for retail pharmacies almost are too numerous to calculate. With the popularity of drive-through pharmacies across the country and new services like Walgreens’ charging stations for electric cars, retail pharmacies are in an ideal position to bring health care on wheels rolling toward them.
Edurant OKed as HIV treatment by FDA
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new antiretroviral treatment for HIV made by Johnson & Johnson, the agency said Friday.
The FDA approved J&J subsidiary Tibotec Therapeutics’ Edurant (rilpivirine) as a treatment for use in combination with other HIV drugs in adults who have not been treated before.
“Patients may respond differently to various HIV drugs or experience varied side effects,” FDA Office of Antimicrobial Products director Edward Cox said. “FDA’s approval of Edurant provides an additional treatment option for patients who are starting HIV therapy.”
The drug belongs to a class known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, or NNRTIs, and is designed for use as part of a highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, regimen.