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Published August 29, 2016
Four years ago, approximately eight of every 100 Wyoming citizens had type 2 diabetes and/or suffered from hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those numbers are probably higher today.
To combat this trend, the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy recently launched its Integrated Pharmacist Program (IPP). The program’s goal is to increase the role and visibility of a cohort of common pharmacists working with patients -- who have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension -- to improve chronic disease self-management.
Since July, the IPP has gathered information about prescription use behaviors in those with type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension. Additionally, the study will gather key insights about patient behaviors, motivations, chronic disease self-management education and health perceptions.
“They (Wyoming residents) know they have diabetes. They avoid dealing with it,” says Thanh-Nga Nguyen, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice in UW’s School of Pharmacy and who has a practice at Family Medicine Residency Program at Cheyenne. “By the time they come to see a doctor, it’s full-blown. Another issue is they don’t have the money to pay for their medication.”
Nguyen says the CDC estimated that, in 2012, eight of every 100 Wyoming residents suffered from diabetes and/or hypertension.
“By now, those numbers would be bigger,” she says.
The IPP is the first formal program offered through the Wyoming Practice-Based Research Network (Wy-PBRN), a collaborative network of health care entities interested in participating in innovation and research aimed at improving health care outcomes throughout Wyoming.
“Two pharmacists -- from Cheyenne and Jackson -- are providing direction for this,” says Beth Young Jones, director of the Wy-PBRN. “We also recently have begun working with communities, such as Casper, and those along the eastern portion of the state.”
The hope of starting a PBRN is to eventually be able to create the partnerships with individuals and agencies in health care, Jones says.
Nguyen adds the goal is to get 20 different pharmacies to participate, with the first pilot focusing on Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Greybull, Guernsey, Jackson, Newcastle, Powell, Rawlins, Torrington and Wheatland.
The program is funded by the CDC and made available from the Wyoming Department of Health Chronic Disease Prevention Program. Pharmacies participating in IPP can be reimbursed for data collection and entry efforts. Any pharmacy in Wyoming is eligible to participate in the program.
The training is self-paced and online. All enrolled pharmacists are supported with live feedback sessions where questions will be answered, program updates provided, and where additional training is available.
Nguyen sees patient self-management as the biggest hurdle to overcome, followed by how spread out Wyoming is, making it difficult to expand the role of pharmacists in rural areas.
“People in Wyoming are very self-reliant, resilient and live on farms,” she says. “It makes it hard for them to come to the clinic or follow instructions with their medications. Hopefully, pharmacists will help patients or people with diabetes with things they can do to make changes and improve their health.”
For more information about the IPP or Wy-PBRN, call Nguyen at (307) 777-7911, extension 253; or email Jones at email@example.com.