PHARMACY

Walgreens: Face-to-face consults with pharmacists, retail clinicians reduce health spend

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — Walgreens last week outlined how the company’s research has demonstrated the ability of face-to-face pharmacy and Take Care Clinic programs to drive better health outcomes at the IMS Managed Markets Services/Data Niche Conference held here.

Some of the savings advantages inherent in the offerings provided by Walgreens include:

  • The impact of pharmacist-led intervention programs for diabetes patients, which through face-to-face counseling have been found in a recent study to drive a statistically significant reduction in levels for A1C, blood pressure and LDL;

  • The impact of community pharmacy on influenza immunizations, where a recent retrospective study showed that in 2009-2010, more than one-third of Walgreens flu immunizations were administered in pharmacies located in medically underserved areas. In states with the largest MUAs, Walgreens provided up to 77% of its flu shots in MUAs; and

  • The effect of pharmacists educating at-risk patients on the importance of receiving a pneumococcal vaccination. The study found 4.9% of the at-risk population immunized for pneumococcal disease, compared with 2.9% of at-risk patients in a traditional care benchmark population. The difference is an increase of 68% over benchmark.

"The power of pharmacist and nurse practitioner-led, face-to-face programs is clearly demonstrated," stated Robert London, Walgreens national medical director. "Whether delivered through a community pharmacy, retail clinic or worksite health center, these interactions allow for an individualized approach to disease management while meaningfully improving health outcomes," he said. "The Medicaid population in particular stands to benefit from these types of outcomes-driven, face-to-face programs. With a huge expansion in the Medicaid eligible population looming, cost control becomes even more important. It will be vital to find solutions, such as those offered by Walgreens, to help improve patient health while ultimately reducing costs."

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PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy promotes importance of a ‘pharmacy home’

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is looking to help pharmacy customers on their path to better health through improved medication adherence as guidance gained from the company’s extensive health policy research points to the importance of a single “pharmacy home.”

"These research-based facts are important for all patients taking medications to understand so they not only feel better, but also save money," stated Papatya Tankut, VP professional pharmacy services at CVS/pharmacy. "This is especially true for older patients who take two to three times as many prescription medications as those under 65. With the first baby boomers turning 65 — and 10,000 people in the United States turning 65 every day for the next eight years — this group is growing."

The guidance is gained from CVS Caremark’s health policy research with Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Having a "pharmacy home" for all of their prescriptions helps patients guard against potential drug interactions. It also encourages the development of a relationship with their pharmacist, who can counsel on the role of medications in treating their health conditions and the importance of staying on prescription therapies to improve their health and reduce their overall healthcare costs, according to CVS Caremark.

"A pharmacist in a face-to-face setting is the most effective healthcare professional at encouraging patients to take medications as prescribed," Tankut added. "When patients fill all of their prescriptions at CVS/pharmacy, our pharmacists are in a better position to help them on their path to better health."

CVS/pharmacy is inviting patients to share their stories of how CVS pharmacists have helped them stay healthy and save money. Now available at Facebook.com/CVS, myCVS Pharmacist Story features comments from patients sharing experiences involving their own care, that of their children or others for whom they are serving as caregivers.

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D.Pechacek says:
Mar-07-2012 12:04 pm

I completely agree with Rebru. We have had the same issue from CVS/Caremark. Some of their letters to our patient even insinuate that the patients will pay a higher copay if they do not switch. This has upset many of my patients and they change out of fear even if we try to explain that it is not true. As you stated, face to face is what we want but only if it is the CVS/Caremark face.

R.BRUBAKER says:
Mar-06-2012 08:43 am

What is this? If CVS/Caremark REALLY feels this way, they would not be sending letters to my patients that trade at a competitor telling them they must change to CVS to continue using their new Caremark insurance. I have had at least a dozen patients tell me this in the last 2 weeks.. some have traded at my store for longer that 20 years. A pharmacist in a face-to-face setting is the most effective.. But then tell my patients it must be their face or they must use the Caremark Mail order. I surely hate when companies talk out of both sides of their face like this!

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PHARMACY

Study: Canadians turning to local pharmacies for more health care

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Patients in Canada increasingly are tapping into the healthcare knowledge, expertise and services available at their local pharmacy, with many of them talking to their pharmacist about one or more healthcare issues other than filling a prescription, according to the findings of a new Nielsen survey commissioned by the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores.

"Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals whose expertise is still under-utilized by our healthcare system in Canada, and indeed around the world. That’s all starting to change," stated Nadine Saby, CACDS president and CEO. "Governments recognize the valuable role pharmacy plays in ensuring patients get the right medication and are able to take it correctly. Now, by enabling and providing funding for new services like medication reviews, injections and immunizations, and prescription renewals without a doctor’s visit, patients are reaping the benefits in more convenient and timely access to professional health advice and guidance.”

It’s no longer enough for a pharmacy to be a place where medication and advice are dispensed — 96% of nearly 6,000 respondents surveyed believe that it’s important for their pharmacist to play an increased role and work closely with their doctor to optimize care.

Furthermore, the study found that 72% of respondents indicated that they have talked to their pharmacist about health issues, beyond their prescribed medication. The most common subject was the treatment of minor ailments (41%), such as mild burns or insect bites. Advice on vitamins and supplements (26%) and dealing with adverse medication reactions (24%) also were commonly discussed.

Regionally, in Atlantic Canada — where Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the nation’s lowest per capita ratio of family physicians — patients are the most likely to turn to their pharmacist for advice on minor ailments (47%). Quebec patients lead the way in seeking information on adverse medication reactions (33%).

When it comes to managing diabetes, Canadians said they are taking some advantage of their pharmacy as an authoritative, accessible and convenient source of care. However, given the known burden of diabetes on patients, their families, the healthcare system and the Canadian economy overall, the CACDS stated that it was surprising that only 9% of respondents reported talking to their pharmacist about managing the disease.

When choosing a pharmacy, the top five considerations for Canadians choosing a pharmacy were:

  • Trust in the pharmacy staff’s knowledge/advice (48%);

  • Location (convenience) (42%);

  • Pharmacist accessibility (32%);

  • Quick service (e.g., short wait time to fill prescriptions) (30%); and

  • Pharmacy services offered (e.g., medication counseling and blood-pressure monitoring) (17%).

More than 30% of respondents reported that they have been affected by drug supply shortages, often more than once, during the past year. On the front line of this issue, pharmacists, for the most part, are finding ways to minimize the impact on patients. Among respondents whose households have been affected by drug shortages, 54% say that their pharmacist was able to source their prescribed medication from another outlet at least once, and 35% said that at least once their pharmacist was able to provide them with an alternative drug, which, in most provinces, requires prescriber consent. Thirty-three percent of those who had an issue with drug shortages also reported that, at least once, they were not able to fill a prescription or find an alternative therapy.

"Pharmacists are going above and beyond to help manage drug supply issues and minimize their effect on patients. In fact, a study conducted by the Canadian Pharmacists Association in October 2010 estimated that, on average, individual pharmacists are spending 30 minutes per shift dealing with this problem," stated pharmacist Sandra Aylward, chair of the CACDS board of directors and VP professional and regulatory affairs with Sobeys Pharmacy Group. "It’s both alarming and unfortunate that in spite of all of the work of pharmacists across the country, that the problem of drug shortages is not getting any better and is impacting so many Canadians."

The survey results are based on 5,878 Canadian household respondents to a Nielsen PanelViews online survey. The survey was conducted from Feb. 6 to 26, 2012, using a national sample, balanced by region and demographics.

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