Intervention helps patients manage their blood pressure

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Pharmacist intervention can make significant improvements in helping patients manage their blood pressure through the use of ‘smart’ monitoring kiosks, a US pilot program has found.

According to the US-based Pharmacy Times, the program involves the use of PharmaSmart kiosks inside pharmacies in which patients use a ‘smart card’ to track their blood pressure.

Around 270 patients with hypertension took part in the 6-month pilot program and were on blood pressure medication, however, in many people it was not well-controlled.

From the kiosk patients’ data is  transmitted to pharmacy staff who decide if they need to make a clinical intervention if patients were not seeing improvements in blood pressure levels.

As a result of the program, blood pressure was improved in about one third of the patients: the mean reduction was 11mmHg systolic, and 8mmHg diastolic.

The program is operated through a partnership between HealthPartners, Sterling pharmacy, and PharmaSmart.

A key finding of the program was the value of the personal interaction between the patient and the pharmacist. “Pharmacists have the opportunity to extend the care team and optimise therapy to positively impact patient outcomes,” says Tim Gallagher, president of Astrup Drug, which owns and operates Sterling pharmacies.

The pilot program was a result of HealthPartners analysis which demonstrated a gap between medication adherence and clinical outcomes. “It is well understood that the pharmacist can play a key role in supporting medication adherence. This pilot shows that community pharmacists can add even more value by confirming that the prescribed medication is doing what it is supposed to do,” says Richard Bruzek, vice-president of HealthPartners pharmacy services.

Based on the results of the pilot program HealthPartners is exploring an expansion in 2016.

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit healthcare organisation in the US, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community


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