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New report highlights importance of expanding pharmacists’ role in Canada

BY Antoinette Alexander

TORONTO — Expanding the role of pharmacists in Canada is one solution that will reduce the burden of chronic illness on patients, and save the system an estimated C$1.4 billion to C$1.9 billion dollars over three years, according to a new report released by Arthritis Consumer Experts, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart.

"Pharmacists already help in the management of chronic conditions, but they can do so much more," stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "Governments have identified chronic disease as an immense challenge and they are investing significant dollars in prevention and treatment of these illnesses; using pharmacists more effectively can help achieve the goal of improving care for Canadians, while at the same time actually reducing costs to the healthcare system."

The report, entitled "Sustainable Solutions Report: A Focus on Managing Complex Chronic Diseases," includes new survey data showing support from physicians and Canadians who want pharmacists to play a bigger role in healthcare delivery.

Complex chronic diseases, like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affect 37% of Canadians and are a factor in 70% of deaths. Some risk factors for chronic diseases like age and genetics can’t be helped, while others are controllable like diet, exercise, or tobacco use. In 2011, the associated medical costs for individuals with these complex chronic diseases were estimated at $42 billion, or 21% of total healthcare spending. This figure is expected to rise to $53 billion by 2015.

How Pharmacists Can Make A Difference


The Shoppers Drug Mart "Sustainable Solutions Report" includes a set of three practical steps governments can take to facilitate pharmacists playing a more substantial role in the management of chronic diseases. These include: 1) enabling pharmacists to develop and manage patient care plans; 2) allowing pharmacists to make prescription renewals and adaptations for specific drug classes; and 3) improving electronic infrastructure and information-sharing between pharmacists and physicians.

Similar measures were outlined in a plan entitled, "9,000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare," released by Canada’s broader pharmacy community. That plan estimated between C$1.4 billion and C$1.9 billion would be saved over three years by expanding the role of pharmacists in managing chronic diseases. It is also estimated that 1.3 million emergency room visits and 500,000 hospitalizations could be avoided, freeing up to 6.3 million hours of physician time.

Enabling pharmacists to develop and manage patient care plans involving lifestyle management tips and one-on-one or group counseling is one instance of how pharmacists can improve the patient experience while also saving physician time and healthcare dollars.

An example of this type of program is the Shoppers Drug Mart Arthritis Screening that was developed in partnership with ACE and ARC. The screening includes a self-administered joint exam and questionnaire, which can help detect the disease at an early stage. It also helps Canadians with arthritis work with a pharmacist to monitor their symptoms and medication over time to prevent the disease from worsening.

"As someone who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 24 years, I know that patients today are eager to work more closely with pharmacists as a key member of their arthritis healthcare team," says Cheryl Koehn, arthritis patient and president of ACE.  "Pharmacists can play an important role in helping detect or confirm arthritis and recommending the appropriate healthcare provider if more information or treatment is needed. Your pharmacist is also well-informed about the medication therapies in their store, how to use them, what to monitor, their effectiveness and side effects, and the importance of actually taking them."

Currently, medication nonadherence results in 5% of hospital admissions, 5% of physician visits annually, and contributes C$4 billion to healthcare costs each year.

Physicians and Canadians Support Pharmacists’ Expanded Role


As part of the "Sustainable Solutions Report," national surveys were conducted of general practitioners and Canadians to determine their views on the role of pharmacists. It found 88% of doctors say they would be open to having more support from other healthcare professionals to help manage care for their patients with chronic conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension.

Almost one-third of family physicians (31%) agree an expanded role for pharmacists will result in patients getting improved management of their chronic diseases. In addition, 40% say patients will get quicker access to some services.  Physicians agree that an expanded role for pharmacists can benefit the healthcare system as a whole in ways such as increasing patient adherence with medications (63%), reducing hospital re-admissions because of pharmacists conducting drug reviews (50%), and patients getting ongoing lifestyle and disease counseling from pharmacists (39%).

Canadians also want pharmacists to help them better manage their chronic conditions and would make use of their services. The research found that the vast majority of Canadians (94%) agree pharmacists can play an important role in helping people with chronic conditions manage their health, and 87% would like pharmacists to help make sure they take their medication as prescribed. Research from the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Canadian Pharmacists Association reported similar findings.


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Executive shake-up at Delhaize Group

BY Antoinette Alexander

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Belgian international food retailer Delhaize Group announced on Wednesday that both Roland Smith, CEO of Delhaize America, and Pierre-Olivier Beckers, CEO of Delhaize Group, are leaving the company.

Smith, who assumed the role of president and CEO of Delhaize America and EVP of Delhaize Group in October 2012, resigned on Wednesday from his role as CEO of Delhaize America but will be available as a senior advisor to the CEO until the end of the year. Following Smith’s departure, the company’s U.S. operations will report to the Delhaize Group CEO.

Appointed as the new CEO of Delhaize Group is Frans Muller, effective Nov. 8. Muller will succeed Pierre-Olivier Beckers, who will remain available to advise the new CEO until year-end and continue to serve on the board of directors in a non-executive capacity thereafter. In order to ensure a seamless transition, Muller will join the company on Oct. 14, prior to assuming the role of CEO.

“I am delighted to welcome Frans to the Group. He has all the qualities to lead the company to the next level of its development and I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition,” Beckers stated.

“Our U.S. business continues to deliver positive results and we have a solid foundation upon which to build. There is a strong leadership team in place and we look forward to further progress in the U.S. I want to thank Roland for his significant contributions to the success of Delhaize America, particularly the energy and focus he brought to the business. I am pleased that he will be available as a senior advisor to the CEO until the end of the year,” Beckers added.

Most recently, Muller served as member of the management board for Metro AG, an international retailing company, and CEO of Metro Cash & Carry, with direct responsibility for approximately 740 stores in 29 countries.


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Cardinal Health names influential healthcare vet to board

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBLIN, Ohio — Cardinal Health on Wednesday announced that its board of directors has elected Patricia Hemingway Hall, president and CEO of Health Care Service Corp., as an independent director, effective Sept. 12. 

"We are extremely pleased that Pat is joining our board of directors," stated George Barrett, chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health. "Pat has had a distinguished career, and we know that she’ll make tremendous contributions to our board. Pat’s experience in leading large and complex businesses, combined with her health care and payor knowledge, will be particularly relevant as health care continues to evolve. We are excited to welcome Pat to the Cardinal Health board."

Hemingway Hall has served as president and CEO of HCSC, the nation’s fourth largest health insurer, since 2008. Previously, she served as president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and as president and COO of HCSC. Beginning in 1975 as a critical care nurse, her career has included a number of executive leadership positions with healthcare services companies, including Aetna Life & Casualty/Partners National Health Plans and A. Foster Higgins.

She has received numerous recognitions for her leadership in the healthcare industry, most recently being included among the top 25 on Modern Healthcare magazine’s 2013 "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare" list.

Hemingway Hall serves on the boards for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Health Care Leadership Council, and Manpower Group. She also serves on the boards of the National Institute for Health Care Management, Economic Club of Chicago, World Business Chicago, and Chicago Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. Hemingway Hall is chairwoman of Chicago United, an executive advisor for the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council and a Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

She earned a master’s degree in public health, health planning and administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of science in nursing from Michigan State University.


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