From ThoughtSpot 2019: National Diabetes Prevention Program

July 31, 2019 | Pamela Youngberg

The conceptual framework for a new diabetes prevention program went through a series of pilots across the country in 2016, each coming to the same conclusion: it works. Over the typical course of a 15-month program, healthcare cost savings of more than $2k per participant were achieved. The pilot programs, many of which were run through local YMCAs, provided enough proof of concept to warrant the launch of the National Diabetes Prevention Program which supplies education, coaching, and support to patients. Once those patient outcomes are met, with its built-in opportunity for profit, the program is a boon to pharmacists, who are often untapped resources in the fight against the disease.

In the “National Diabetes Prevention Program: An Opportunity for Pharmacy” presentation at ThoughtSpot 2019, co-presenters Bill Popomaronis (NCPA), Ashley Keller (STRAND Clinical Technologies), and Donna Avant, RPh (Ehrhardt Pharmacy), identified a few tips for taking advantage of the program in the community pharmacy setting.

  • Determine your desired patient population for outreach. There is an easy, online screening test for prediabetes you could encourage patients to take, or you might consider looking at metformin use, physician referrals, and even family members who are already diabetic.
  • Engage your whole team in identifying prospects during counseling sessions on programs like medication synchronization or dispensing meds for comorbidities. Provide the tools and education they need to answer questions, and have them participate in the first few sessions so they fully appreciate the process. The CDC offers an action guide to train pharmacies in the program.
  • When you announce a new program, let previous program graduates know so they can talk up the program in the community. Consider incentivizing patients for attending weekly sessions, which are typically focused on healthy eating, increased physical activity, and techniques to support positive thinking.
  • Understand that it will take some time and commitment to ready your store to provide the service. The application process to be recognized as a provider can be arduous, and you’ll have to understand the format in which to provide the accreditation data.

Creating an opportunity for pharmacies to provide such services parallels the evolution of other programs—like MTM and medication synchronization—that deviate from the outmoded lick-stick-count-and-pour view of pharmacists’ roles. Especially for providers in rural and underserved areas, participation in the National Diabetes Prevention Program is just another way to deepen engagement with patients and reinforce pharmacy’s role as a community leader and trusted provider.

Pamela Youngberg

Before she came to Smart-Fill, Pamela developed marketing strategy and content for a range of technology start-ups and large-cap enterprises. Outside the office, she's into cycling, renaissance history, cooking, and exploring the outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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