NewsBytes, Part 2 — Chain Pharmacy, 6/25/12
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens in May named Alan London chief medical officer of Take Care Health Systems Consumer Solutions Group. In the newly created position, London will have leadership responsibility in building and maintaining external physician and health system relationships for Take Care Clinics while also providing strategic direction and leadership for the group’s service expansion, quality, clinical education and training, and collaborative practice agreement functions.
London is a family physician with more than three decades of experience in patient care delivery, healthcare strategy and business development, including 12 years at the Cleveland Clinic.
LEESBURG, Va. — RxAlly, a coalition of more than 22,000 pharmacies around the country, has appointed Peter Duran VP and chief privacy officer, responsible for ensuring that the group’s privacy practices comply with laws and regulations. Prior to that, Duran spent 15 years at Medco Health Solutions, where he helped build the company’s privacy program.
LONDON — Telemed Ventures has partnered with Walmart to deliver a managed visual collaboration solution for the retailer’s in-store medical clinics.
BSC Global enables remote video consultations between a patient and doctor through a life-like, virtual face-to-face video interface over a secure video network. The telemedicine technology will be implemented in Walmart’s retail medical clinics, which are operated by Telemed Ventures’ Smart Care Doc brand. Users of the BSC Global service have the ability to conduct telepresence-quality face-to-face interactions over the Internet using existing laptops, smartphones or tablets — making it a very affordable solution for patients, doctors and healthcare providers, the companies said.
NEW YORK — More patients are actively looking for and expecting to find mobile health solutions, according to the global Economist Intelligence Unit report released in June.
Roughly one-half of patients surveyed for the report, commissioned by PricewaterhouseCoopers, predict that mHealth will improve the convenience, cost and quality of their health care in the next three years. Meanwhile, 6-in-10 doctors and payers believe that its widespread adoption in their countries is inevitable in the near future.
The top three factors that would drive patients toward greater utilization of mHealth in managing their own healthcare — more convenient access (46%), lower healthcare costs (43%) and greater ability to manage individual health care (32%).
Teen weight issues linked to diabetes
Being overweight and obesity during adolescence are associated with a disproportionately higher risk for cardiovascular disease risk factors, especially prediabetes and diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Analyzing data from the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” researchers found that among adolescents ages 12 to 19 years, the prevalence of prediabetes/diabetes increased from 9% in the 1999 to 2000 NHANES to 23% during the 2007 to 2008 NHANES. While prediabetes/diabetes experienced an increase, the researchers noted that other CVD risk factors — such as prehypertension/hypertension (17% and 13%) and high to borderline-high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (23% and 19%) — saw no significant change when observed in the 1999 to 2000 NHANES and 2007 to 2008 NHANES.
Another study, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last April, found that young people with diabetes had much higher medical costs per year than those without it. For nondiabetic youth, costs per year were $1,468, compared with $9,061 for those who had the disease. Much of the extra cost came from prescription drugs and outpatient care. Those with the highest medical costs were treated with insulin, including all those with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2. Children and adolescents who received insulin treatment had annual medical costs of $9,333, compared with $5,683 for those who took oral medications.
Finding a multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care
An integrated wellness team approach to diabetes care can help patients not only improve their condition, but also lower their prescription costs, according to new research presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ 21st annual Scientific and Clinical Congress in Philadelphia.
Researchers led by Gary Evans, director of research at Northeast Florida Endocrine and Diabetes Associates, developed a multidisciplinary program that enrolled adult patients with Type 2 diabetes. Patients were counseled in nutritional, fitness and behavioral elements of diabetes management in a customized 16-week curriculum, while their doctors monitored body mass index, weight, HbA1C levels and diabetes medication dependence. Medications were reduced as needed to lower the risk of low blood sugars.
Evans and his fellow researchers found that participants decreased their doses of insulin and oral medication by about 46% and 12%, respectively; reduced their 30-day prescription costs, on average, by nearly $143 per month; and decreased their body mass index by 3.07 and HbA1C by 0.7%. The researchers noted that HbA1C was reduced by an average of 1.3% for patients with a baseline HbA1C of 8% or more.
“The multidisciplinary program creates a time frame that gives patients time to absorb the information, revisit strategies for management and engrave the behaviors into their minds,” Evans said. “Covering those key elements is what it takes for patients to grasp and embrace the strategies to be successful and improve their condition. It is our hope that the success of this curriculum will create a pathway for intensive wellness programs to be recognized as medical benefits for diabetes patients by insurance companies. The only way to be successful with long-term goals is to affect a lifestyle change.”