As I have discussed for about a decade, the role of pharmacists in direct patient care continues to expand (see: More than 30,000 Pharmacists Now Administering Flu Shots in Neighborhood Drug Stores; Pharmacist-Staffed Coagulation Clinics in a Large Health System). This trend is accelerating now because of the rapid expansion of walk-in clinics in retail drug stores such as CVS's MinuteClinics that now number more than 1,000 in 33 states (see: MinuteClinic History). A report about the expanding healthcare role of pharmacists lists four major areas of pharmacist engagement (see; Exploring Pharmacists’ Role in a Changing Healthcare Environment);
- Medication management.
- Medication reconciliation.
- Preventive care services.
- Educational and behavioral counseling.
A recent article addressed a new program for hypertension management at the University of Michigan Health System in collaboration with pharmacists in the Meijer chain (see: U-M Health System announces partnership with Meijer pharmacies). Below is an excerpt from the article:
The University of Michigan Health System has established a new partnership with Meijer pharmacies to provide hypertension management services for adult patients. U-M patients will be able to visit participating Meijer pharmacy locations to receive a blood pressure check and assessment. If the patient’s blood pressure is elevated, the clinically trained Meijer pharmacist will communicate directly with the patient’s U-M Health System provider. The patient will also receive appropriate follow-up and education about disease, clinical goals, medications and lifestyle. In addition, documentation of the patient’s visit to their Meijer pharmacy will be recorded in their electronic medical record so the patient can easily discuss the reading and assessment with their U-M Health System provider at their next medical visit.....Each participating Meijer location has purchased an automatic blood pressure monitor to provide more accurate readings to patients. The device takes six consecutive blood pressure readings and provides an average of the readings....U-M Health System patients with elevated blood pressure will be identified at clinic visits and given the option to visit the Meijer pharmacy for their follow-up care.
It's interesting that the automated blood pressure devices used in this program acquire six consecutive readings and then provide an average of these readings. It would be interesting to study whether blood pressure recordings taken by a pharmacist with automated devices are subject to the so-called "white coat syndrome" in which readings are falsely elevated during a clinic visit because of patient nervousness (see: Beyond 'White Coat Syndrome'). If patients don't have too high blood pressures when interacting with a pharmacist, the name of the syndrome may need to be changed since many pharmacists wear white coats.