Blood Pressure Pilot Program Becomes Permanent
Â Itâ€™s only been a few months and John Young is already feeling better. Initially flagged for his out-of-control blood pressure, he is part of a pilot program where pharmacists work more closely with his doctor ÂÂâ€“ to check his blood pressure monthly, follow-up with him on medication compliance, check interactions with other medications and talk about diet and lifestyle changes to improve his health.
â€śMost pharmacies donâ€™t care about helping you take your blood pressure. They just point you to a machine to take it. But, here, a pharmacist offers to take your blood pressure for you. It makes for a nice personal touch,â€ť said Young.
For 20 years, Young has battled high blood pressure. As a new patient at OneWorld Community Health Centers, the pharmacists partner with physicians on his blood pressure management.
OneWorld Community Health Centers Ââ€“ in collaboration with the Live Well Omaha: Douglas County Putting Prevention to Work initiative and the Douglas County Health Department â€“ launched this pilot program to tackle chronic heart disease. Since one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, program leaders said it is an important aspect of community health prevention.
â€śWe know that many patients do not have their blood pressure under control. Medical providers refer these patients to the program and pharmacists take part in their medication management,â€ť said Thea Ramos, pharmacist at OneWorld. â€śPatients might not see their doctor for three to six months, and we see them monthly for prescription refills. So in between their doctorâ€™s appointments, a pharmacist can check their blood pressure, do medication counseling, monitor medication adherence and adjust medication doses if necessary, in collaboration with a physician.â€ť
Since the program launched in 2012, physicians noted that patients in this program now have stable blood pressures or have met their blood pressure goals. It has been so successful that OneWorld decided to hire a dedicated clinical pharmacist to continue the collaborative program.
â€śWe realize that it is not only making a difference in the lives of our patients but also improving the communication between our physicians and pharmacists as they work together as a medical interdisciplinary team. Through a partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Centerâ€™s College of Pharmacy, we hope to have a person on board in this role later this summer,â€ť said Andrea Skolkin, chief executive officer at OneWorld.
The Douglas County Health Department supports a similar pilot program Ââ€“ aimed at reducing cardiovascular disease â€“ at Charles Drew Health Center in north Omaha.
Young said he tells everyone about how this program has helped him, especially during blood pressure education awareness month.
â€śIâ€™ve been impressed with the program and it has been a great experience for me. I actually drive past other pharmacies to go to OneWorld,â€ť he said.