A Medical Device Daily

The Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA; Nashville) report that the Tennessee Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation (Nashville) has received a total research grant of $425,040 from Roche Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland).

The grant funds a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the pharmacy-based collaborative approach to diabetes care as compared to current or usual care.

The study is a randomized, controlled pre-test/post-test comprehensive diabetes intervention study conducted by community pharmacists in seven rural or suburban areas across Tennessee. One of the key differences between this study and similar studies is that the recruitment of subjects is physician-driven.

The participating pharmacists, working collaboratively with referring physicians and other members of the health care team, will play an active role in the patients' diabetes management and will also be instrumental in the coordination and development of a community referral network to meet specific patient needs.

"We believe that diabetes care delivered in a concerted and organized manner by pharmacists can lead to improvements in outcomes such as A1c, blood pressure, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglycerides and also to a decrease in emergency room visits, hospitalizations and healthcare costs," said Baeteena Black, DPh, executive director of TPA.

"This most generous grant from Roche Diagnostics will allow us to evaluate the difference in outcomes between usual diabetes care and a pharmacy-based collaborative diabetes care program," she added.

Usual care or care received by a control group is defined as the routine diabetes care typically provided in the study site communities by various healthcare professionals. Usual care subjects will be expected to complete baseline, six-month and 12-month data collection visits. Participants will receive an Accu-Chek Aviva meter system and test strips for the length of the study. All subjects will receive training on the use and care of the meters and lancet devices.

Participants in the intervention group will receive individualized care from their site pharmacist, including testing, counseling and education on appropriate medication use, the monitoring of diabetes signs and symptoms, and diabetes patient's self-care behaviors. Each subject in this group will receive a personalized patient care plan, which will be shared with the subject's primary health care provider, who can make any changes to the plan.

"If the effectiveness of this intervention group model is demonstrated through this study, then it may be implemented in other pharmacies throughout Tennessee," said Black.

"This is such an important study for now and the future as healthcare costs associated with diabetes continue to increase rapidly." Black added that costs for the U.S. related to diabetes care, including complications and lost productivity, are about $174 billion a year.

"There's good news, though, in that diabetes can be managed successfully with the help of a qualified healthcare team. A small percentage of the $174 billion was spent on testing supplies and medication. The bulk of the expense was related to emergency room visits, hospital stays and operations associated with diabetes complications."