Vanessa Wilson is an aspiring writer who currently works in a small community clinic in Nevada. She is also working toward earning her certification as a licensed pharmacy technician. When she isn’t working, Vanessa spends most of her free time at home with her two dogs.Get their bookView their FacebookView their InstagramView their LinkedInView their Twitter
Diabetes is one of the most common and costly chronic diseases in the country, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that it currently affects 30.3 million Americans. The disease poses many different health risks for patients, including increased risk of stroke and damaged blood vessels or nerves, among others.
It’s important to investigate how different members of the healthcare community can help address this issue and play an active role in helping patients manage their condition. For example, pharmacists are key players in the healthcare field and one of the most accessible providers to people living with diabetes. Given that Maryville University pointed out that the shortage of primary care physicians is anticipated to reach a minimum of 100,000 by 2025, pharmacists are positioned to fill this gap and to provide important information and guidance to patients when their primary care physicians are unavailable. Recently, the role of pharmacists has evolved and pharmacists together with physicians are helping people with diabetes manage their disease.
While the role of a pharmacist as traditionally been centered around the compounding and distribution of medicines, it has slowly evolved and expanded. Today, pharmacists practice in a patient-focused manner, and pharmacists are now recognized as an important part of the multidisciplinary healthcare team.
Since many patients are diagnosed with diabetes later in life, complications are often present at the time of diagnosis. Pharmacists, together with physicians, are positioned to aid in the early detection of diabetes, by helping to identify the factors increase the risk of developing the disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of diabetes.
Pharmacists can counsel patients about medications and side effects. Pharmacists can inform patients on how to alleviate side effects of medicines and suggest alternate treatment regimens, if necessary. For people living with diabetes and using insulin, pharmacists can provide directions for insulin pen usage and answer common questions to minimize the likelihood of medication errors associated with the administration of insulin.
Additionally, pharmacists can work with patients to monitor blood glucose levels and ensure this information reaches their primary physician or endocrinologist, so that target blood glucose levels are more often achieved. Within the patient team, pharmacists may also help identify the most appropriate hypoglycemic management strategy for patients on an individual basis. Pharmacists are also able to learn about new technologies and upcoming advancements in the insulin industry that may be available to patients and provide this information to them.
Companies developing new therapies and technologies for people with diabetes need to increasingly focus on informing and educating pharmacists on new strategies for managing glucose levels and associated issues in diabetes. Tools for education include focused social media campaigns, pharmacist-specific presentations at conferences, and inclusion of pharmacist key opinion leaders in technology development. In this way, pharmacists will continue to fill a critical front-line role in improving outcomes for people with diabetes.
Written exclusively for Diasome.com by Vanessa Wilson
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Diasome seeks to serve people with diabetes by developing cutting-edge therapies and by serving as a forum for our community to educate and inform others about the challenges and successes in living with diabetes. We actively seek perspectives from the rich and diverse world of clinicians, scientists, thought leaders and people with diabetes. To share your unique perspective with us, email Diasome at firstname.lastname@example.org