Take 2 to 3 minutes to identify CVD patients for more counseling

July 4, 2013

Face-to-face interaction between pharmacists and patients will be key to the success or failure of the federal government’s Million Hearts initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Salvatore Giorgianni, PharmD, told participants during the June 3 State of Men’s Heart Webinar.

 

Face-to-face interaction between pharmacists and patients will be key to the success or failure of the federal government’s Million Hearts initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Salvatore Giorgianni, PharmD, told participants during the June 3 State of Men’s HeartWebinar.

Giorgianni is a scientific advisor for Men’s Health Network, which sponsored the webinar along with Million Hearts-an initiative by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to avert 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  Men’s Health Network is encouraging providers to celebrate Men’s Health Month this month, by participating in health screenings, health fairs, and other health education activities.

“Pharmacists can have a profound effect and a profound impact on the cardiovascular health of men and women in their communities,” Dr Giorgianni said, noting historically poor compliance rates involving high blood pressure and high cholesterol medicines.  

He urged pharmacists to build better relationships with providers, to offer targeted education and screening programs, and to red-flag patients receiving cardiovascular prescriptions for additional counseling. “It takes 2-3 minutes,” he said. “That’s all it really takes.”

He pointed to studies such as the 1996 Asheville Project, which demonstrated that medical adherence rates rise dramatically and overall medical costs decline when pharmacists are involved in face-to-face consultations and follow-up.

“I talk to patients, when I’m doing [MTM], and they’ll tell me ‘I don’t take that medication anymore. I don’t have the condition anymore.’ Many don’t realize that these are medicines that they need to continue to take,” Dr Giorgianni said.

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director, CDC, said 1 out of 3 men have some form of cardiovascular disease and 1,000 men die everyday due to heart attacks or strokes. “Too many men have some form of cardiovascular disease and are at risk,” he said.

Frieden identified the two main causes of heart attacks and strokes in men as smoking and high blood pressure. He said the community portion of Million Hearts would focus on tobacco control, sodium reduction, and trans fat elimination.

Since many men are goal-orientated, Giorgianni suggested that pharmacists encourage male patients by pointing out successes. “Find something, anything, that they are doing right,” he said. “Reinforce it.”