PHARMACY

Study: Blood from periodontal disease can be used to screen for diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Oral blood samples drawn from periodontal inflammation can be used to measure HbA1C levels, a factor that indicates a patient’s diabetes status, according to a New York University study.

An NYU nursing-dental research team conducted a one-year study through which paired samples of oral and finger-stick blood were taken from 75 patients with periodontal disease at the NYU College of Dentistry. A reading of 6.3 or greater in the oral sample corresponded to a finger stick reading of 6.5 in identifying the diabetes range, with minimal false positive and false negative results. According to guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association, an HbA1C reading of 6.5 or more indicates a value in the diabetes range.

The findings were published in November 2011 in the Journal of Periodontology.

"In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening — an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status," said Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry and the study’s principal investigator. "There is an urgent need to increase opportunities for diabetes screening and early diabetes detection. The issue of undiagnosed diabetes is especially critical because early treatment and secondary prevention efforts may help to prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes that are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased levels of mortality risk."


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Up to 45,000 Nebraska state employees to regain access to Walgreens with health plan switch

BY Michael Johnsen

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska officials on Wednesday announced the state will switch health insurance carriers from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare, effective July 1, according to reports.

Access to Walgreens pharmacies played a significant role in that decision, according to Carlos Castillo, head of the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services. More than half of the 15,000 state employees and 30,000 dependents presently have their prescriptions filled at a Walgreens pharmacy, according to the report. "When [access to Walgreens pharmacies] stopped at the end of December, it was a huge, huge change — and employees were very vocal about it," Castillo told the Associated Press.

The move is expected to save the state $8 million per year, or about 5%. That cost savings should reach state employees by way of lower premiums, Castillo said.

 

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Walgreens partners on adherence pilot with Greystone Healthcare Management

BY Michael Johnsen

LADY LAKE, Fla. — Walgreens and Greystone Healthcare Management on Thursday launched a collaborative therapy management pilot program at the Lady Lake Specialty Center in Lady Lake, Fla., aimed at enhancing medication adherence and reducing readmission rates for patients in post-acute care settings.

“Discharge from a hospital or post-acute care setting can be a hectic time for patients and their families, and sometimes it’s difficult to make a trip to the pharmacy or to understand a new medication regimen,” said Scott Clark, VP strategy and implementation for Greystone Healthcare Management. “Having a clinically-trained pharmacist deliver prescriptions and information directly to a patient’s bedside makes compliance easier, and an ongoing dialogue with the pharmacist helps patients and caretakers transition to a new setting.”

“Walgreens pharmacists are experts at helping patients understand and adhere to their medication therapy programs,” added Marlin Hutchens, Walgreens market VP for Florida. “By expanding beyond our thousands of community pharmacies and into innovative healthcare settings like Greystone’s Lady Lake Specialty Center, we’ve demonstrated the valuable role our pharmacists can play as part of a patient’s care team, helping to improve outcomes while reducing costs.”

The program utilizes Walgreens community pharmacists to deliver medication and directly counseling to patients prior to discharge from the 145-bed Lady Lake center. Following discharge, patients will receive a follow-up call from a Walgreens pharmacist within 72 hours to help them understand and comply with their medication therapies.

Similar Walgreens programs in hospital settings have driven improvement in patient care and satisfaction, as well as significant increases in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores, Walgreens noted.

Upon review of the results of the program at the Lady Lake Specialty Center, Greystone will explore expansion of the Walgreens medication therapy management program to additional settings within its 2,727-bed network of skilled rehabilitation facilities throughout the nation.


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