Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Really cool thing happening in healthcare

One of the neatest things happening around the world of pharmacy is helping patients get their medications together through medication management.  The short of it is that people with at least two health conditions (say high blood pressure and high cholesterol) tend to have lots of medications and pharmacists can help these patients figure out what's going on with the multitude of meds they are taking.  With help, patients quit taking excess medications sooner and tend to cost less overall in terms of total healthcare (think preventing heart attacks by taking medications properly well beforehand sort of savings.

There's an extra component to this one-on-one coaching about medications deal that's the natural extension.  It's the coaching on how to change your life to help you change your medications.  Like if you quit smoking or lose twenty pounds, you lower your blood pressure, meaning you can lower your dose of your high blood pressure medication.

This part, the lifestyle coaching, is pretty awesome.  The data isn't super solid yet but the early data looks promising and like it's cost-effective to hire someone (as a corporation that pays for healthcare) to help folk improve their health one tiny bit at a time.  National Public Radio's Shots Health Blog has a nice story about a company in Alaska that's doing just that and how it's been successful.  There's some discussion about whether the health coach should also be a healthcare provider (nurse, doctor, pharmacist, etc.), and I'd say it's especially beneficial for people on medications to see a health coach who's a pharmacist to help manage medications along with the health conditions.

In my perfect world where I've gotten my personal health and fitness together, I think this sort of practice would be a really cool one.  I like the small level where I get to work with one patient at a time and it's excellent to see a positive change in health if you can make a little change.  I'm hoping the opportunities are still there when I'm FINALLY done with school.  I kind of think that there may actually be more opportunities by then because (like a pharmacist on the code team which is kind of a no-brainer if you consider the number of drugs being used in rapid succession) good ideas catch on.

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