A1-See Improvements in Your Patients!
Patients diagnosed with diabetes have a lot of plates to juggle, including the one they are eating from! From remembering to take their prescribed medications to attending follow-up visits, it isn’t difficult for a patient to slip through the cracks and not receive a regularly scheduled hemoglobin A1c test. A1c testing is one of the most measurable outcomes when tracking blood glucose progression. However, having patients get an A1c test 2-4 times a year can prove rather difficult.
No matter where your pharmacy is located, patients face an unlimited number of barriers that may negatively impact their health. Man Pharmacy resides in Logan County, a rural area of southern West Virginia. Access to quality healthcare because of transportation continues to be a barrier in this geographical region. To overcome this, Man Pharmacy began providing their qualifying patients with diabetes at-home A1c testing kits. Medicare Advantage plan members who qualified were enrolled with the Humana-sponsored Outcome-Based P4P program. As an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience student on rotation, I called eligible patients to ask about their most recent A1c result and whether a home kit would be easier to use than scheduling a lab visit. I offered to show them how to use the test when they were next in the pharmacy if they needed more detailed instructions. This was a perfect opportunity to inquire about their annual eye and foot exams, as well! Programs such as this could be implemented in other CPESN pharmacies as a way to both generate revenue and improve patient outcomes.
Home A1c test kits allow patients to keep track of their own results to report to a healthcare professional and/or to the pharmacy. It also allows the pharmacist to ensure their patients are receiving all of the recommended annual exams. Although the American Diabetes Association recommends an A1c goal of <7%, many Medicare plans have a standard goal of <9%. Whichever goal your patient is striving to achieve, overcoming simple barriers such as transportation to lab appointments can help everyone, including the patient, keep track of their progress!
Written on behalf of CPESN West Virginia by West Virginia University School of Pharmacy student Sarah Snider, PharmD Candidate