NACDS lauds studies showing pharmacists are critical in team-based healthcare delivery
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores lauded recommendations released by the Community Preventive Services Task Force illustrating that team-based care can improve blood-pressure control for patients.
The studies, which specifically cited pharmacists as critical in the team-based approach to patient care, emphasized the importance of collaboration among healthcare professionals in ensuring improved patient care.
“When pharmacists were added to teams, the median improvement in the proportion of patients with controlled blood pressure was considerably higher than the overall median increase for this outcome,” the findings concluded.
The evidence was based on the findings of 77 studies of team-based care organized primarily with nurses and pharmacists working in collaboration with primary care providers, patients and other professionals.
The report also found that health team members complement the role of the primary care provider by having the team support and share responsibilities for hypertension care — such as medication management, patient follow-up and helping the patient adhere to their blood-pressure control plan, including health behavior change.
“We are pleased with the recommendations by the Community Preventive Services Task Force. Collaboration of healthcare professionals — including community pharmacists — is a key component of helping to improve patient care,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Community pharmacists counsel patients on taking medications as directed by their physicians, administer flu shots and other vaccines to help patients stay healthy, and they provide a number of other services such as preventive health screenings — including blood-pressure testing. Community pharmacy provides unsurpassed value in improving patient health and reducing healthcare costs in the healthcare delivery system.”
The Community Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, nonfederal, unpaid body of public health and prevention experts that provides evidence-based findings about community preventive programs, services and policies to improve health.
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Amneal adds blackberry flavoring to generic diabetes drug
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Amneal Pharmaceuticals is adding blackberry flavoring to a generic diabetes drug following feedback from customers, the company said Wednesday.
Amneal announced the changes to its metformin hydrochloride immediate-release tablets in the 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg strengths, designed to cover up the smell of metformin.
The company said the blackberry-flavored metformin, manufactured at its Brookhaven, N.Y., factory, will begin shipping this month with new national drug code numbers. The drug is a generic version of Glucophage, made by Merck Sante S.A.S., a subsidiary of Germany-based Merck KGaA, a separate and distinct company from U.S.-based Merck that operates under the name EMD Serono in the United States.
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More than one-third of dispensed prescriptions sent electronically in 2011, report finds
ARLINGTON, Va. — The number of prescriptions being sent electronically jumped by 75% between 2010 and 2011, while almost all of the retail pharmacies in the country are connected for e-prescribing, according to a new report by the country’s largest e-prescribing network.
According to a report scheduled for release Thursday, Surescripts found that the number of pharmacies connected to the Surescripts network has become almost total. Nearly 57,000 retail pharmacies — out of the 62,461 chain and independent pharmacies in the country overall — are connected to Surescripts’ network, compared with 46,000 in 2008. The current figure represents more than 98% of chain pharmacies and 79% of independents.
In all, 570 million prescriptions, or 36% of the total, were routed electronically by prescribers to pharmacies by the end of 2011, compared with 326 million, or 22% of the total, in 2010. Meanwhile, 58% of office-based physicians were e-prescribing in 2011, compared with 1-in-10 in 2008.
The report also showed an improvement in medication adherence due to e-prescribing, with 76.5% of electronically routed prescriptions being picked up, compared with 69.5% of those sent through traditional means, with a "consistent" increase in first-fill adherence of 10%, creating potential savings of between $140 million to $240 million over 10 years.
"This remarkable growth in adoption and use has transformed one of the most common transactions in health care into a mainstream electronic healthcare tool," Surescripts president and CEO Harry Totonis wrote in the report. "Electronic routing of prescriptions on the Surescripts network accounted for more than 1-in-3 prescriptions that were picked up by patients at community pharmacies. As states implement e-prescribing for controlled substances … these new types of transactions will drive additional use of e-prescribing."
One major contributor to growth is government incentives for electronic health records and e-prescribing under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, or HITECH, Act, which is providing up to $30 billion in incentives for prescribers who adopt electronic health records and meet the government’s "meaningful use" requirements. According to the report, of a cohort of physicians who adopted and began using e-prescribing in 2008, as many as 60% of them have met the initial stage of meaningful use, while 38% would meet the proposed second stage; e-prescribing is one of the core objectives of stage 1 meaningful use, which requires a provider to route more than 40% of prescriptions electronically. So far, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has doled out almost $4 billion in payments to providers and hospitals.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that the incentives for adoption of electronic health records are given out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The incentives are granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The story has been corrected.
Ahier: Thank you for pointing out the error in the story, which we have now corrected. Alaric DeArment Associate Editor, Drug Store News
The incentives are not paid by CDC! The $4 billion comes via CMS, a separate agency...