Pharmacist monitoring of patient health in the community
This research has explored the potential role of the community pharmacist in health promotion in the pharmacy, and at general medical practices. The feasibility of monitoring patients' health status in the community was evaluated by intervention to assess and alter cardiovascular risk factors. 68, hypertensive patients, monitored at one surgery, had a change in mean systolic blood pressure from 158.28 to 146.55 mmHg, a reduction of 7.4%, and a change in mean diastolic bood pressure from 90.91 to 84.85 mmHg, a reduction of 6.7%. 120 patients, from a cohort of 449 at the major practice, with an initial serum total cholesterol of 6.0+mmol/L, experienced a change in mean value from 6.79 to 6.05 mmol/L, equivalent to a reduction of 10.9%. 86% of this patient cohort showed a decrease in cholesterol concentration. Patients, placed in a high risk category according to their coronary rank score, assessed at the first health screening, showed a consistent and significant improvement in coronary score throughout the study period of two years. High risk and intermediate risk patients showed improvements in coronary score of 52% and 14% respectively. Patients in the low risk group maintained their good coronary score. In some cases, a patient's improvement was effected in liaison with the GP, after a change or addition of medication and/or dosage. Pharmacist intervention consisted of advice on diet and lifestyle and adherence to medication regimes. It was concluded that a pharmacist can facilitate a health screening programme in the primary care setting, and provide enhanced continuity of care for the patient.