Did you know that more than 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes? And that another 34.5% of adults in the U.S. has prediabetes? Those are the 2020 diabetes statistics from the CDC, and they’re alarming. More and more Americans require diabetes care.
Pharmacists can help diabetes patients in ways beyond providing their insulin and testing supplies. Here are four ways you can turn your pharmacy into a diabetes care powerhouse:
Empower Your Patients: Offer Diabetes Self-Management Training
A diabetes diagnosis can be hard. It’s not just a new medication to take every day; it’s a lifestyle change. As a pharmacist, you can help. According to a recent Drug Topics article, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses providers for diabetes self-management training (DSMT) if the patient has recently been diagnosed with diabetes or is at risk for complications. To provide this training, a pharmacist must be recognized as a certified program provider, which they can do by completing the Diabetes Accreditation Standards-Practical Applications (DASPA) program.
Perform a Review: Schedule Regular Medication Therapy Management Visits for Diabetes Care
The right medication won’t improve your patient’s health if they’re not taking it appropriately. Set up regular appointments with your diabetes patients and go over their prescriptions and their medication regimen. This is something you should be doing with any multiple-prescription patient, but diabetes patients deserve a little extra attention here. Because patients with diabetes often have comorbidities, making sure they are taking the right medication in the right amounts at the right times is especially important.
Know Your Stuff: Be an Easily Reachable Resource for Information
For the average person, a pharmacist is more accessible than a physician. Nine out of ten Americans lives within five miles of a pharmacy; that distance shrinks to two miles in metropolitan areas. And, as most pharmacists can attest to, it’s a lot easier to get a pharmacist on the phone than a physician.
One of the most important things you can do for your diabetes patients is listen. They are going to have questions, and you’ll likely know the answers. It’s always going to be someone’s first time using a lancet or a testing strip. The instructions that come with their glucometer may not be as self-explanatory as the manufacturer would like to think. You are a source of information — and reassurance — for them.
Don’t Stop at Strips: Expand Your Inventory to Include Other Diabetic-Friendly Products
Diabetes patients are already in your store; don’t make them go somewhere else to get the products they need. Sure, you have testing strips and lancets, but do you carry sugar-free versions of your patients’ favorite cough and cold medicines? Diabetic supplements? What about carrying cases for diabetic accessories? You could even stock sugar-free snacks. You want to be the one-stop shop for everything your diabetic patients need. Not only will it help your bottom line, it will also make pharmacy trips far more convenient for them. And if you really want to raise the convenience level, stock all your diabetes products and accessories in one spot.
Every year, over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s a lot of people who are going to need your advice and assistance as they begin a new stage of their lives. Make sure you and your pharmacy are ready to help.