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APhA CEO Blog

Guest blog: CDC helps pharmacists and physicians take the team approach

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October 24, 2017

In honor of American Pharmacists Month, we are welcoming a guest blogger to share some exciting opportunities for pharmacist collaboration. Today’s post is from the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Read on to learn how CDC is reaching out to pharmacists to help improve cardiovascular care in and around communities.

--Tom

Pharmacists play a crucial role in reducing risk for heart disease and stroke. Because one in three adult Americans has high blood pressure, and only half of them have it under control, pharmacists are key players in helping patients understand the importance of medication adherence and blood pressure monitoring.

When it comes to preventing and managing chronic diseases, team-based care gives a patient the best chance for preventing or managing chronic disease. But different health professionals often practice in silos. And pharmacists—despite their extensive education and expertise—are often underutilized in chronic disease management. Patients and physicians are not always aware of the value of adding pharmacists to their care team.

To spotlight the important role pharmacists play in preventing and managing chronic disease, we’re excited to share a new webpage of pharmacy resources, including guides, videos, and other tools, to empower pharmacists and other health professionals to work together to implement a team-based care approach. Here are a few highlights:

Link up with your local physicians. The traditional relationship between physicians and pharmacists has focused on filling prescriptions. But a more collaborative care approach that involves pharmacists and providers working together can improve hypertension control and cholesterol management. Use this guide to learn strategies to develop a relationship between the clinic and your pharmacy. Community-clinical linkages can help ensure that people at risk for chronic disease have access to the best resources, so that the flow of information among the patient health care team and points of care is seamless.

Set up a collaborative practice agreement (CPA). A CPA is a formal agreement in which a licensed health professional makes a diagnosis, supervises patient care, and refers patients to a pharmacist under an agreement that allows the pharmacist to perform specific patient care functions. When a CPA is put in place, it usually results from the physician’s having a high level of trust and confidence in the pharmacist, which can take time to develop. However, a CPA can help enhance team-based care that can result in lower costs and better health outcomes for the patient and the health care system.

These are just some of the resources CDC has compiled to help pharmacists get involved with the rest of the health care team. On behalf of CDC, thank you for everything you do to help manage chronic disease and lower the burden of heart disease and stroke in this country.