How pharmacists can help improve diabetes care for patients….
As the number of people with diabetes grows, so does the need for health care providers to give optimal care, and so does the amount of money it takes to do so. Diabetes is a complicated disease. It takes a lot of effort on both the patient and physicians part to maintain control. It’s tough to see your doctor when you are sick, and it’s even tougher to see them on a regular basis. Doctor visits every other month are not enough for most diabetic patients. Things fluctuate and need regular attention. Often, poor people, Medicaid patients, and people without their own transportation have the most trouble with getting care.
Pharmacists like Andrew Bzowyckyi are trying to improve the way diabetes care is given. He works with the University of Missouri at an endocrinology clinic associated with the school of pharmacy to make sure that patients get their medicine, can afford it, know how to use it, and that it’s working well. Pharmacy students work through the clinic and assist in providing care. Pharmacists can be more accessible and can provide optimal care for those in-between visits. It’s possible for pharmacists to monitor insulin pump data, check glucose readings, look over carbs/diets, and make recommendations for therapy adjustments. The benefits of this type of work can help improve care, optimize control, and save money in the long run.
The biggest challenge is reimbursement. Pharmacists lack provider status and therefore cannot bill Medicaid, Medicare, or insurance providers. However, as a profession, pharmacy is equipped with the knowledge needed to make the change. Bzowyckyj says it best about pharmacists and diabetes care, "we don’t replace anybody, but we augment extremely well."
APhA, December 2013- Obesity Care: Pharmacists ready and qualified – Sonya Collins