The personalized Connected Care Cystic Fibrosis Management Program aims to help people live longer and healthier lives, and will be accessible through CFS pharmacies as well as in selected Walgreens stores.
The program was designed to help CF patients manage not only their own medications, but also a special diet, physical therapy, and the exercise needed for a healthy life. It is estimated that 30,000 Americans have the disease, and studies reveal that patients frequently fail to take their medication properly as prescribed, which can lead to health problems and hospitalization.
The therapies prescribed for treating cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes major health problems in the lungs and digestive system that can be life-threatening, are indeed demanding. Patients typically have to take a combination of oral, injected, or inhaled medication, which can lead to side effects.
“Connected Care extends far beyond just ensuring CF patients take their medications correctly. We work closely with each patient to identify and overcome individual challenges and barriers,” said Barbara S. Putignano, R.Ph., vice president of CFS Inc. “Our pharmacists are experts in CF medications and proactively provide patients the support and guidance they need to ensure they adhere to therapy and live healthier, less stressful lives.”
In order to develop the Connected Care CF Program, Walgreens worked with two external advisory boards, which included doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and social workers. The program itself will be administrated by Walgreens pharmacists and staff. The first step is the medication-specific education at the beginning of the program, which continues throughout the process. The instruction includes administration, scheduling, storage, and handling.
Every month, patients will receive a reminder call with an assessment of prescription adherence, supervision for side effects, and guidance. Pharmacists will also look to address patient-specific challenges in following the treatment and help them overcome any difficulties. In this way, pharmacists can review the prescriptions and look for possible drug interactions that be harmful for the patient.
Pharmacists and doctors will be connected during the program, and physicians will receive reports of adherence and side effects from the care team. The idea is that both groups are coordinated in order to assure that orders are filled only when needed.
Walgreens Alliance Pharmacy, which has been partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since 2012, will also provide pharmacy staff 24/7 online and by phone for general pharmacy questions.