Tuesday, March 24 is Diabetes Alert Day, and in light of the developing COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to discuss how pharmacists can begin supporting patients who are at higher risk for complications associated with the novel coronavirus, such as patients with diabetes. In tandem with care associated with coronavirus, the need to engage, educate, and empower diabetic patients is more critical than ever. Here’s how your pharmacy can take action.
First, let’s explore the impact of diabetes in America, according to the CDC’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report:
- Over 34 million Americans have diabetes, or about 10.5 percent of the U.S. population
- Over 7 million people are undiagnosed and unaware that they have the disease
- Another 88 million adults have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes
- More than 8 in 10 Americans with prediabetes don’t know they have it
Not only can you support patients who are already managing their diabetes, but also very importantly, you can help prediabetic patients make changes in their lifestyle to prevent them from developing type 2 diabetes. Participating in the upcoming Diabetes Alert Day can be a way to raise awareness among this population so that patients understand their risk. We recommend getting the word out via text or phone campaigns and on social media (#DiabetesAlertDay)! Be sure to also provide patients with resources that will help self-identify risk, such as this Diabetes Risk Test.
For all patients and especially those with diabetes, you can also add in details about COVID-19, and direct patients toward the CDC’s guidelines. The CDC has stated that older adults and those with conditions like diabetes “seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness,” and has provided guidance for the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation with steps to take to protect yourself. Here are recommendations from the American Diabetes Association on ways diabetes patients can prepare for a sick day.
Serving as a resource for your higher risk patients while the COVID-19 situation continues to develop is incredibly valuable, and will equip patients with the important information needed to manage their health in a uniquely risky time.
Here are a few other ways to support prediabetic and diabetic patients at the pharmacy.
- Diabetes point-of-care testing. By offering point-of-care testing for diabetes, you’ll be able to reduce the number of undiagnosed diabetes patients and help them get back on track more quickly. Our tools can help you filter patients to identify who might make a good candidate for testing, as well as streamline and document the process so you can get paid for testing services.
- Comprehensive medication reviews. Help diabetic patients manage their condition through medication reviews and monitoring, in partnership with the patient’s physician. Review drug-drug interactions, recommend any changes needed, and check in with patients to ensure they are adhering to their oral medications and insulin therapy. Our technology also makes it easier to identify risk, as well as run medication synchronization (Med Sync) programs, to ease the administrative burden on pharmacy staff and your patient.
- Diabetes management and prevention education. Community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to support their prediabetic and diabetic patients through education, even while adhering to the latest recommended physical precautions and isolation methods. Pharmacists like Chris Antypas are using their digital platforms to help patients understand how lifestyle choices impact diabetes, or the risk for type 2 diabetes. With social distancing practices in effect, try hosting a Facebook Live event to answer your patients’ most frequently asked questions! This education can be crucial to helping patients understand the changes they should make while also building trust and loyalty for the future.
Interested in learning how you can become more involved in ensuring a healthy community? Please reach out to us today – we are standing by and happy to discuss how PrescribeWellness can help you engage your patients during this critical time.