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I hope everyone in the U.S. had a fantastic holiday weekend!

So, last week, in the most recent issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, there was a new article detailing a study that had been done to look at the benefits of using physician-pharmacist co-management of patients in the management of hypertension in the primary care setting.

Carter BL, Ardery G, Dawson JD, et al. Physician and pharmacist collaboration to improve blood pressure control. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(21):1996-2002.

In this study they had clinical pharmacists in 6 sites.(1) In three sites, pharmacists were passive and only answered questions for physicians if they arose. In the other three sites, pharmacists provided direct patient care in the form of follow-up appointments with the patient and recommendations for therapy when appropriate.

They found that in the intervention group (pharmacist care), significantly more patients’ blood pressure was controlled 63.9% versus 29.9%.(1) This trend was maintained whether or not you also considered the patients with diabetes. They also found that the group with pharmacists involved in follow-up had significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to the control group.

I think this study further reinforces previous studies that pharmacists are very good at managing such conditions as hypertension and other related ailments. This is a role that we can step into. However, I do not see these studies showing the benefit of clinical pharmacists in these settings really gaining much popular attention in the profession, which confuses me. This is exciting stuff!

This shows that a pharmacist participating in patient care in primary care settings can have a significant health benefit for patients. This even provides evidence for me that we could even see some similar effects from enhanced pharmacist follow-up, monitoring, counseling, and recommendations from pharmacists in community pharmacies. There is no reason that this same type of patient care service could not be done collaboratively from a community pharmacy (as evidenced by the Asheville projects).

So why does research of this nature not get as much attention as maybe it deserves?

Does this research open up new roles for pharmacists in patient management?

Can pharmacists do this type of thing in the community pharmacy setting?

Let me know what you think!

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December 2017
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