CDC seeks to expand U of Michigan's hypertension pharmacy program model

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has piloted a program aimed at involving pharmacists as part of the care team for patients with hypertension. Its success has prompted the CDC to begin scaling the model for wider use.

Overwhelmingly, after just three months, 66% of patients who met with a pharmacist who had been trained through the University of Michigan Hypertension Pharmacists’ Program had their hypertension under control compared to just 42% who did not meet with a pharmacist. 

At a six-month check-up, 69% of patients who had met with a pharmacist about their hypertension medications had their blood pressure under control, while only 56% of others did. 

The new model, "has the potential to be a game-changer in bringing pharmacists into the care team to better serve patients," Vicki Ellingrod, PharmD, dean of the University of Michigan's College of Pharmacy stated in the news release. "We are so proud of this program and excited to further our collaboration with the CDC to help conquer hypertension throughout the country."

The addition of the pharmacist to the care model allows the patient to more directly discuss with them their lifestyle factors that could influence blood pressure levels like diet, exercise, smoking and stress levels. Pharmacists trained in the University of Michigan Medicine's program are also there to communicate with the patient about medication adjustments, identify allergies, and help them understand how to properly monitor their blood pressure at home. It also gives the pharmacist and patient an opportunity to discuss cost and problem solve factors that could be barriers to a patient's consistent use of medication.

The CDC seeks to scale this model for use by public health practitioners to engage pharmacists around hypertension management. 

The CDC guide details best practices from the University of Michigan's program and explains key components of implementing a similar model with success, such as by investing in more community partnerships, collaborating across clinical departments, utilizing checklists, implementing solutions to possible barriers, and obtaining leadership buy-in.

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