In clients with high blood pressure, management of symptoms and lowering of one’s heart rate to acceptable levels is crucial. Regular monitoring by a pharmacist may help control blood pressure better than self-directed treatment. Clients who had regular sessions with a pharmacist were able to better control their blood pressure for 6 months after a session ended, according to a study published by the American Medical Association. Pharmacists offer patients a personal view on their health care needs, and have the ability to form connections within the communities they serve. This personalized care is critical for helping patients with long term illnesses adhere to their treatment outcomes and improve their quality of life.
The study used telemonitoring to track a client’s blood pressure over the length of the one year study, speaking on the phone biweekly to discuss the results of the reading. Once a client had successfully completed six readings, the frequency of these calls reduced to once per month. During the second half of the study, the check-in with the pharmacist was bi-monthly. The results of the study concluded that regular monitoring by a pharmacist lead to a decrease in systolic blood pressure, and 71% of the clients had their blood pressure under control at the end of the study, compared with only 27% of the control group. This study helped to illustrate how pharmacists play a unique role in helping their clients manage their hypertension.
Pharmacists should make note to discuss the potential impact that positive lifestyle changes can have on blood pressure with their clients, and encourage adherence to a medication regime. Small lifestyle changes such as routine physical activity, a change in diet, and learning stress management techniques can have a positive change in blood pressure for some patients. Adhering to a medication schedule and monitoring one’s blood pressure are also critical for proper treatment of hypertension. Pharmacists can make better recommendations for patients the more that they know a client, and understanding your patient’s medical history and prior treatment can help to bridge the gap and create a connection between a client and their pharmacist.
Hypertension can result in many hospital stays, emergency room visits, and further out of pocket costs for clients that do not have their blood pressure under control. These out of pocket costs may be defrayed by meeting regularly with a client’s pharmacist, and scheduling follow up calls after a client has refilled their prescription or purchased an item to further track their blood pressure. Pharmacists should take care to demonstrate how to use blood pressure monitors, and explain the differences between product lines. Ensuring that a person is comfortable using the device at home will help to ensure that they continue to monitor their blood pressure over time.
Pharmacists have a critical role to play in their community, particularly with those clients that have long term illnesses such as hypertension. Connecting with clients in your community can improve their quality of life and your overall client satisfaction. Working together as a team to address client health care issues is just one of many ways that long term illnesses can be managed.