JAMA study looks at role of pharmacist in health care

Researchers at the Regenstrief Institute, the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Roudebush VA Medical Center studied over a thousand patients to determine whether having a pharmacist work closely with individuals with reactive airway diseases such as asthma improved health outcomes. The results of this study are published in the October 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Patients with reactive airway diseases, costly and prevalent conditions, tend to visit the pharmacy with much more frequency than they visit their doctor?s office, and a pharmacist is often the last health professional whom patients see before taking their medication.

The study was conducted at 36 CVS stores in Central Indiana. The researchers divided the stores into three clusters of 12 stores. Stores in each cluster were matched for socioeconomic characteristics.

The first, or pharmaceutical care group of patients, filled its prescriptions 12 CVS stores in Central Indiana where the pharmacists were provided patient-specific clinical data including peak air flow rates, emergency department visits, hospitalization and medication compliance information for each of the patients randomized to the pharmacist intervention group. The pharmacists made no treatment decisions but did try to reinforce compliance with the physician?s prescribed treatment regimen. Patients in this group were taught how to measure their air flow with a simple to use device called a peak flow meter.

Members of the second group enrolled in the study had their prescriptions filled at another 12 CVS stores in Central Indiana. Members of this group, known as the peak flow monitoring group, also were trained to measure their air flow but did not receive any special assistance from the pharmacists filling their prescriptions.

Those in the third group had their prescriptions filled at yet another 12 CVS stores in Central Indiana. These individuals received the

Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
Indiana University

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