UIC Pharmacist Alumni Magazine
University of Illinois at Chicago
Results of the Diabetes Ten City Challenge (http://www.diabetestencitychallenge.com) released by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation demonstrate how employers and pharmacists can work together to help people with diabetes manage their disease and reduce healthcare costs.
The data, published in the May/June issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA), show average total healthcare costs were reduced annually by $1,079 per patient compared to projected costs if the DTCC had not been implemented.
Data for the more than 500 participants included in the analysis show patients saved an average of $593 per year on their diabetes medications and supplies, in part, because employers waived co-pays to encourage people to participate in the DTCC.
According to the analysis, there also were improvements in key clinical measures, including a 23 percent increase in the number of participants achieving the American Diabetes Association A1C (blood glucose) goal of <7; an 11 percent increase in the number of participants achieving National Cholesterol Education Program goals; and a 39 percent increase in the number of participants with a combined diastolic/systolic blood pressure goal achievement of 130/80.
Improvements in preventive care measures were also assessed. The percentage of participants with current flu vaccines increased from 32 to 65 percent. Those with current eye exams increased from 57 to 81 percent, and participants with current foot exams increased from 34 to 74 percent.
Through the DTCC, conducted by the APhA Foundation through HealthMapRx™ with support from GlaxoSmithKline, employers established a voluntary health benefit for employees, dependents and retirees with diabetes.
Thirty employers in 10 cities, including the Midwest Business Group on Health in Chicago, waived copayments for diabetes medications and supplies if participants met regularly with a specially trained pharmacist "coach" who helped them track their A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol and manage their disease through exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Pharmacists communicated with physicians after visits and referred patients to other healthcare providers for additional care or education as needed.
In Illinois, 35 pharmacists, including pharmacists from the College of Pharmacy's department of pharmacy practice, saw approximately 250 patients across the state over the course of the program.
Faculty from the college helped train other pharmacists in diabetes care using the American Pharmacists Association's Diabetes Certification Program.