Thursday, October 18 , 2018, 2:19 pm | Fair 79º

 
 
 
 

‘Project IMPACT: Diabetes’ Improves Patient Outcomes in Santa Barbara County

The American Pharmacists Association Foundation announced interim clinical results from Project IMPACT: Diabetes showing statistically significant decreases in A1C or blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure and Body Mass Index, which are all recognized standards of diabetes care.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department was one of the 25 communities whose patients experienced improved outcomes across almost every socioeconomic class, insurance status and ethnicity. Doctors in two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department refer their underinsured or uninsured patients with diabetes to a new diabetes clinic where a pharmacist and dietician work together to educate the patients and make recommendations to their doctors.

Project IMPACT: Diabetes is the first national research initiative to improve people’s health by integrating pharmacists into diabetes care teams in communities that are underserved or highly affected by diabetes. More than 2,000 patients have engaged in one-on-one consultations with pharmacists who help them better manage their disease through appropriate medication use, exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle changes.

“Working in an ambulatory care setting has been an amazing experience for me,” Dr. Carol Millage said. “As a pharmacist, I was rewarded with seeing the laboratory values improve and I also was able to hear patients describe first hand how much better they were feeling as their diabetes became more under control.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and more than 200,000 die every year. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2) was the ninth-leading cause of all death in Santa Barbara County in 2012, accounting for 68 deaths.

People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing diabetes-related complications, including heart disease and stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations. Integrating the APhA Foundation’s proven patient centered model of collaborative care into participating communities enables local health care teams to better address the diabetes epidemic they are facing within populations that are uninsured, underinsured, poverty stricken, or have a high incidence of the disease.

"Everyone with diabetes faces challenges such as adhering to prescribed medications, monitoring blood glucose levels, staying current with vaccines and foot and eye exams, and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle,” Millage said. “Working together empowers all types of patients — rich and poor, insured and uninsured, anywhere in America — to take the steps they need to understand and manage their diabetes while living healthier lives.”

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

 

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