Apple Drugs gathers data for diabetes study

Apple Discount Drugs, a locally owned Health Mart pharmacy, is pleased to announce results from a three year diabetes patient tracking study the company conducted in coordination with the Patient Safety Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative.

The program allowed the Apple Diabetes Center to track a total of 61 diabetic patients over a three-year period. All patients were Medicare recipients.

Apple certified diabetes educators met one-on-one with each patient as much or as little as needed offering diabetes education, resources and support while monitoring each patient’s A1C (average blood glucose levels) and identifying adverse drug events and signs for potential adverse drug events.  Patients were also followed for hospital readmission.

Results showed that out of the 61 patients tracked, all but one individual reached their  A1C goal.  There was only one hospital re-admission of the group which was not  diabetes related.

“Their overall health was better,” said Geoff Twigg, Apple clinical pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator. “We saw a reduction in the number of adverse drug events, which translated to less doctor visits, trips to the emergency room and overall better quality of life.”

The most common adverse event the Apple team tracked was hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).  Most patients were unaware of the causes of this adverse event.

George Jones, a senior who participated in the study, was taking a medication called glipizide. He often skipped lunch which resulted in hypoglycemia in the middle of the afternoon which prevented him from driving safely.

“I was not aware that taking a little white tablet and skipping lunch could make my sugar go so low,” said Jones.  “I only thought insulin could cause your sugars to go low.”

“Very few pharmacies have outcome driven data to work with,” said John Motsko, Apple Certified Diabetes Educator.

“This study provided us with hard numbers on the positive impact diabetes education and counseling has on patients,” he said. “The process was educational for the Apple Diabetes Resource Center too.  We saw the before and after of real people right before our eyes.  Nothing can compete with real outcomes.”

“We greatly appreciate the community members who allowed us to track their conditions over such an extended period of time,” said Jeff Sherr, president, Apple Discount Drugs.  “The best part by far was when we would identify a patient whose health was improving and therefore required less medicine to control the disease.”

The next step for the Apple Diabetes Team is the work they will do specifically with the senior population in surrounding communities.

The incidence of diabetes among seniors is over 30 percent. The center will focus on fine tuning education and interventions with these individuals.

“The study taught us to recognize the unique challenges of the senior population, such as living and eating alone, cognitive decline, financial challenges, physical limitations, multiple medications and social interaction and support,” said Motsko.  “We have added information in our sessions to specifically address these issues.”

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