Opportunities for Pharmacists to Aid in the Management of Acid-Peptic Disorders
C. Wayne Weart
There is increasing evidence that pharmacists practicing in a myriad of clinical settings, including outpatient clinics and community pharmacies, can play a key role in efforts to manage many chronic diseases. This is especially true for conditions that are prevalent, costly, and where patients frequently self-medicate using over-the-counter drugs. The acid-peptic disorders (e.g. peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux, and reflux esophagitis) meet these criteria and present pharmacists with an ideal opportunity to improve patient outcomes, acting independently or as part of a more comprehensive disease management initiative. The opportunity exists for pharmacists to enhance the care of patients with acid-peptic disorders by identifying patients who have one of these conditions, assessing their risk for serious diagnoses (e.g. cancer) or complications (e.g. bleeding), educating patients on self management, and optimizing medical regimens through collaboration with physicians. The major barrier for integrating pharmacists into disease management programs is reimbursement; however, some patients may be willing to pay for these services, and innovative payors may begin to provide compensation to pharmacists, Pharmacists should play a key role in new disease management models designed for conditions, such as acid-peptic disorders, that meet the criteria discussed in this article.
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