Magazine article Drug Topics

Troubleshooters

Magazine article Drug Topics

Troubleshooters

Article excerpt

Iowa demonstration project finds pharmacists solving many drug therapy problems

In an Iowa demonstration project designed to determine the impact of pharmaceutical care, community pharmacists were found to have resolved drug therapy problems in 14% of their patient encounters.

A total of 1,171 patients received pharmaceutical care services in the Iowa study. During the two-year project, 9,517 patient care encounters were tallied, resulting in the resolution of 1,451, or 14%, of drug therapy problems. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, the Iowa Pharmacy Association, and the Outcomes Pharmaceutical Health Care network of pharmacies were partners in the project. Patients with asthma, hypertension, diabetes, or ischemic heart disease were identified and enrolled by pharmacists to participate in the project. Patients received health-care services based on their overall health, not just the disease state for which they were enrolled.

"This study points to the fact that drug therapy problems are very prevalent," said Cheryl Clarke, R.Ph., senior v.p, clinical and quality assurance services, Iowa Pharmacy Association. "It also shows that pharmacists play an important role in identifying and resolving those drug therapy problems," she said.

The most common medication trouble spots the pharmacists were able to clear up were inappropriate adherence to therapy, adverse drug reactions, and missing medication therapy. The majority of the problems were fixed through pharmacist intervention with the patient. More than 60% of the problems were at the low end of the severity scale, Clarke said. She said it has been postulated that the enrolled patients were those who could physically get to the pharmacy, which may have eliminated people with more severe conditions and more severe drug problems.

A total of 34 pharmacies actually enrolled patients, and 29 of them were reimbursed for their cognitive services. …

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