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Engaging people with diabetes through community pharmacy-led care

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Pharmacists play an integral role in empowering the self-management needs of people with diabetes beyond the traditional role of supplying medicines 

Diabetes affects over 537 million people worldwide; by 2045, this is estimated to increase to 783 million. [1] With the growing prevalence of diabetes, it’s even more important to utilise all options to support people with diabetes (PwDs) in managing their daily life with diabetes.

Where do PwDs most often access healthcare support? On average, PwDs visit the pharmacy three-to-eight times more than the general population to obtain medicines and testing supplies.[2] It is clear that pharmacists play an integral role in empowering the self-management needs of PwDs beyond the traditional role of supplying medicines. This relationship, however, may be underutilised.

Research suggests there is a lack of broad recognition of pharmacists as a key source of diabetes care, and that resource constraints – particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic – can interfere with patient education provision and training.[3,4] Furthermore, the circumstances and role of the pharmacy vary, nationally and internationally. At Roche Diabetes Care we would like to shine a light on the increasing value of community pharmacists as important figures in the well-being of PwDs.

How can community pharmacists support PwDs?

Community pharmacists play an active role in improving health and well-being for PwDs as health literacy and blood glucose self-monitoring has been shown to increase through pharmacist-delivered interventions.[3,5] Research has demonstrated that PwDs with poorly-managed glucose levels benefit the most from pharmacist interventions. At the same time, pharmacists can help identify high-risk individuals and offer lifestyle advice and referrals for screening.[6, 5]

Additionally, pharmacists are an important point of contact to advise people with diabetes on the use of blood glucose metres, the importance of regularly changing single use items such as lancets and to check the accuracy of a used metre with control solutions.

Roche Diabetes Care is supporting diabetes care with connected blood glucose monitoring (BGM) devices. These solutions simplify the process of measuring and tracking blood glucose on a daily basis. When connected with a diabetes management app such as mySugr, BGM devices can relieve the data management burden for PwDs and promote increased understanding of their condition. This supports diabetes self-management and ultimately helps to reduce complication risk. [7, 5] Pharmacists can provide encouragement and counsel on how to get the most out of these connected solutions.[3]

Research has highlighted the value of pharmacies having standardised and structured diabetes education programmes to enable the delivery of enhanced diabetes care. [4] Roche Diabetes Care is committed to delivering solutions to support the community cornerstone that is the pharmacist. Connected devices can provide PwD and pharmacists with more context and information, thus promoting better control of the condition and facilitating more personalised advice. Pharmacists have stellar potential to deliver expert and accessible diabetes care – together we can make this happen.

References

[1]         International Diabetes Federation, “Facts and Figures,” International Diabetes Federation, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes/facts-figures.html. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[2]         S. Q. Jamshed, M. J. Siddiqui, B. Rana and A. S. Bhagavathula, “Evaluation of the Involvement of Pharmacists in Diabetes Self-Care: A Review From the Economic Perspective,” Front Public Health, vol. 6, p. 244, 2018.

[3]         J. Hughes, Y. Wibowo, B. Sunderland and K. Hoti, “The role of the pharmacist in the management of type 2 diabetes: current insights and future directions,” Integrated Pharmacy Research and Practice, Vols. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774315/pdf/iprp-6-015.pdf, p. 15–27, 16 January 2017.

[4]         E. Cooney, “Pharmacists’ perceived role in supporting diabetes education and self-management in Ireland: a qualitative study,” HRB Open Res, vol. 4, p. 20, 2021.

[5]         Diabetes.co.uk, “Diabetes Pharmacy,” Diabetes.co.uk, 15 January 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-pharmacy.html. [Accessed 23 September 2023].

[6]         K. Khunti, M. Davies, A. Willis and N. Khunti, “The role of pharmacists in the management of type 2 diabetes: A literature review,” Diabetes & Primary Care, vol. 15, p. 131, 2013.

[7]         Royal Pharmaceutical Society, “Using pharmacists to help improve care for people with type 2 diabetes,” Royal Pharmaceutical Society, [Online]. Available: https://www.rpharms.com/recognition/all-our-campaigns/policy-a-z/diabetes. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[8]         C. Helper and L. Strand, “Opportunities and responsibilities in pharmaceutical care,” Am J Hosp Pharm, vol. 47, no. 3, p. 533–43, 1990.

[9]         Diabetes.co.uk, “Diabetes in South Asians,” Diabetes.co.uk, 15 January 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/south-asian. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[10]       N. Bhurji, J. Javer, D. Gasevic and N. A. Khan, “Improving management of type 2 diabetes in South Asian patients: a systematic review of intervention studies,” BMJ Open, vol. 6, p. e008986, 2016.

[11]       Community pharmacy news, analysis and CPD, “Pharmacists urged to target diabetes in south Asian communities,” Community pharmacy news, analysis and CPD, 22 November 2012. [Online]. Available: https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/CD015806/Pharmacists-urged-to-target-diabetes-in-south-Asian-communities. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[12]       Diabetes UK, “an integrated career and competency framework for pharmacists in diabetes,” Diabetes UK, 11 May 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/news–updates/integrated-career-framework. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[13]       Diabetes UK, “Diabetes courses for healthcare professionals,” Diabetes UK, [Online]. Available: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/training–competencies/courses. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[14]       D. Flood, “The state of diabetes treatment coverage in 55 low-income and middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study of nationally representative, individual-level data in 680,102 adults,” The Lancet, vol. 2, no. 6, pp. E340-E351, 2021.

[15]       C. Ide, R. Mayor and B. Ruch, “Real-world data analysis shows a significant improvement on glycemic management when using a blood glucose monitor connected with a mobile health application in UK users with type 2 diabetes.,” in Diabetes UK Professional Conference , 2023.

[16]       International Diabetes Federation, “Diabetes atlas,” International Diabetes Federation, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://diabetesatlas.org/idfawp/resource-files/2021/07/IDF_Atlas_10th_Edition_2021.pdf. [Accessed 28 September 2023].

[17]       Elflein, J, “Estimated global healthcare expenditure to treat diabetes in 2007, 2021, 2030, and 2045(in billion U.S. dollars),” Statista, November 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/241820/estimated-global-healthcare-expenditures-to-treat-diabetes/. [Accessed 29 September 2023].

Author: Pedro Goncalves, Global Head of Commercial Organization, Roche Diabetes Care. 

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