In an effort to improve quality of life for patients with diabetes, the integrated health care departments at Greater Seacoast Community Health worked together to develop a pilot Medication Therapy Management program to reduce patients’ blood sugar levels. Greater Seacoast, a network of community health centers including Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, offers patients accessible pharmacy services.
Pharmacist-in-charge Maureen Simonds worked closely with Greater Seacoast’s Quality Improvement Department and primary care providers to implement this pilot program. With the help of a grant, Maureen received specialized training in Medication Therapy Management, and she has been working one-on-one with patients since April.
Patients are referred to the program by their providers then meet with Maureen for an initial appointment. She has them bring in all their medications―including over the counter ones since herbal supplements can increase blood sugar levels. When reviewing their medications, she looks for ways to cut down on the number of medications they are taking as well as reducing costs whenever possible. Maureen makes suggestions for combination medications that would combine the benefits of two drugs in one.
After meeting with patients, Maureen makes her recommendations to the referring providers, who make the final decisions. She then sets up follow up appointments for patients after one month and six months. Blood sugar levels are retested at the six-month follow-up.
Appointments can be held at the Goodwin Pharmacy in Somersworth or virtually.
With Medication Therapy Management, Maureen also reviews the correct ways for patients to take their medications. She met with a patient and realized he was not taking his insulin correctly. He was re-using his single-use vials, so the medication was not effective.
In addition to reviewing patients’ medications, Maureen helps develop goals for a healthier lifestyle to reduce the number of medications patients might need. She likes digging deeper to figure out how patients can live their healthiest lives.
“It feels very rewarding,” Maureen explained. “I’ve had good communication with patients. I’m confident this program will help our patients live long and healthy lives.”