Community pharmacists to play key role in new treatment model for HBP/diabetes

KEARNEY, Neb., March 20, 2013 – The University of Nebraska Medical Center is unveiling a new treatment model to help positively impact clinical outcomes for hypertension and type-2 diabetes patients through a groundbreaking program made possible by a National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation grant. 

Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) is collaborating with UNMC, Kearney Clinic, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII),  Nebraska’s statewide health information exchange, to introduce the program.

The two-year initiative begins April 1 and is focused on increasing communication between community pharmacists and physicians to help improve patient care and medication adherence.

UNMC approached Kearney Clinic because of its innovative approach to care with electronic medical record technology and a patient-centered medical home model.

Typically, patients are seen once every six months. To help gain a better understanding of what happens after seeing a doctor or being prescribed medication, the pilot will track select patients’ activity and progress. Potential candidates for the program are currently being enrolled.

Walgreens pharmacists will fill participants’ prescriptions and provide a comprehensive medication review to address any patient questions or concerns, identify possible interactions and help improve adherence. 

In addition, pharmacists will offer free blood pressure testing each time medications are picked up, tracking results for each patient. If refills are late or never picked up, that information will be shared with the clinic for follow-up by a physician. 

The project will utilize NeHII, a statewide bilateral information sharing portal, which will allow physicians and community pharmacists to safely and easily share data across clinical settings.   

“This collaboration takes the clinical and practical relationship to a whole new level by helping to create a key communication stream,” said Donald Klepser, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UNMC College of Pharmacy and the study’s primary investigator. “It’s a more economical utilization of health care resources – and takes better advantage of a pharmacist’s expertise.”

“Community pharmacists are well-positioned to support hypertension and type-2 diabetes patients in managing their disease and addressing the variety of issues they may face each day,” said Kristi Rudkin, Pharm.D., Walgreens senior director of product development and innovation. “By working together on this coordinated health care program, we can explore and analyze this data to understand fully how we can work together to improve overall patient adherence to medications and clinical outcomes.”

The NACDS Foundation awarded UNMC a $369,000 grant to study the potential impact on patient health by incorporating community pharmacy-provided medication management strategies into existing patient-centered care teams, such as medical homes and accountable care organizations (ACOs). 

“It’s research like this that will inform and shape how we practice,” said Ken Shaffer, M.D., pediatrician at Kearney Clinic. “We hope this exciting project will further improve the health and outcomes of our patients.”    

About University of Nebraska Medical Center

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at  The UNMC College of Pharmacy is recognized as one of the outstanding institutions for pharmacy education and research, and its graduates are influencing the quality of health care in communities across Nebraska and the country.

About Walgreens

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,072 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.