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Haydon-Greatting

“We Didn’t Start the Fire—We ran toward it!” Pharmacists’ Essential Role in Diabetes and Diabetes Prevention

by Starlin Haydon-Greatting, MS-MPH, BSPharm, CDM, FAPhA
Member of BPS Specialty Council on Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
Pharmacoepidemiologist; Diabetes Care and Education Specialist; ADCES DPP Lifestyle Coach
IPhA Director of Clinical Programs and Population Health
MyHealthRx, TCOYH and Illinois Pharmacists Network

 

 

November is American Diabetes Month and November 14th is World Diabetes Day both are dedicated to educating, raising awareness about risk factors to prevent diabetes and promoting compassionate care to persons living with diabetes. Pharmacists play an essential role in supporting and advocating for people with diabetes and diabetes prevention, especially during the pandemic. Our most recent experiences of pharmacists running toward the fire during this pandemic has yielded a wealth of insight for our profession and stakeholders.

 

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a common disease; 346 million people in the world have diabetes. It is projected by WHO that DM death will double by 2030. According to the CDC’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, approximately 34.2 million Americans—or 1 in 10 adults—have diabetes, and 88 million American adults have prediabetes. With diabetes being a serious complicating comorbidity for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), managing patients with diabetes during the pandemic has taken on even greater importance, but not without presenting special challenges for health care providers.

 

In short, our health care system reached a critical tipping point to advance a more personalized, team-based, comprehensive primary care model and we needed to quickly pivot and expand the use of telehealth. The pandemic highlights the essential role of pharmacists’ value-driving elements of optimizing medication use through a coordinated, systematic approach with medication management and collaborative disease management.

 

Pharmacists from all practice sites are working together to care for their patients with diabetes during COVID-19 and have found that the challenges posed by the pandemic have actually created opportunities to care for these patients in new and more effective ways. We are using telephonic and/or virtual patient visits and are creating safe curbside services for immunizations, testing and prescription delivery. Diabetes care and education pharmacists serve as a resource to other health care providers, their patients and payers to assure safe, appropriate, medication use during a very uncertain time.

 

One of the most effective ways to manage a person’s diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Standards in Medical Care in Diabetes, is with a team-based approach-and that team may be most effective if it includes a pharmacist.

 

There is over a decade of literature and practice models—ambulatory care clinics, community health centers, health systems and community/grocery store pharmacies—supporting the role of pharmacists in diabetes care. As the most accessible health care provider, pharmacists are the “boots on the ground” who provide “continuity of care” by following the patient care progress between physician visits, utilizing our clinical expertise to monitor and manage diabetes medication plans and educating patients on disease, lifestyle, and shared decision making with medication adherence issues.

 

“We didn’t start the Fire—We run toward the Fire for our patients! Fire Up for Pharmacy!”

 

References:

https://www.diabetes.org/community/american-diabetes-month
https://www.diabetes.org/risk-test
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes
https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/43/Supplement_1/S7

 

Starlin Haydon-Greatting, MS-MPH, BSPharm, CDM, FAPhA
Member of BPS Specialty Council on Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
Pharmacoepidemiologist; Diabetes Care and Education Specialist; ADCES DPP Lifestyle Coach
IPhA Director of Clinical Programs and Population Health
MyHealthRx, TCOYH and Illinois Pharmacists Network