Pharmacists

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In Los Angeles, How Pharmacists Are Improving Patients’ Health

Dr. Sarah Ma goes over medications and dosages with diabetes patient Joe Navarro. (Credit: Anacleto Rapping)

Sarah Ma, a pharmacist with USC, goes over medications with diabetes patient Joe Navarro. (Credit: Anacleto Rapping)

By Laurie Udesky, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Jose Navarro regularly trekked to the drugstore after being diagnosed as a diabetic seven years ago. In a sign of transformation in the local fight against diabetes, the pharmacist is now coming to him.

On a recent day Sarah Ma, a 28-year-old USC clinical pharmacist, set up shop at Navarro’s kitchen table in Santa Ana.

She checked Navarro’s blood pressure and blood sugar, examined his feet for cuts or infection, and refilled his monthly pill box. On previous visits she had changed the hour he took some medications, altered some doses, and discontinued others.

She inspected the refrigerator. “I see carrots, eggs, beets, cheese and yogurt that I haven’t seen before,” she said, delighted.

It wasn’t all great news. Navarro, 78, had told Ma that the pastry he had at breakfast was tiny. Actually, it engulfed half the plate Ma brought with her to illustrate what portions to eat of different food groups. Continue reading

California Pharmacists Providing More Direct Care to Patients

Clinical pharmacist Diana Arouchanova worked with patient Diana Freedman’s physician to switch one of the medications that helped lower her blood pressure (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Clinical pharmacist Diana Arouchanova worked with patient Diana Freedman’s physician to switch one of the medications that helped lower her blood pressure (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News

Jill Freedman felt like her heart was jumping out of her chest. She knew her blood pressure was too high and feared having a heart attack or a stroke.

“I was freaking out,” said Freedman, 55. “You get very emotional when you think you could drop dead at any moment.”

Her doctor doubled one of her medications, she said, but that only made her feel worse. So Freedman turned to the one person she knew she could count on — her pharmacist.

“We are the most overeducated and underutilized healthcare professional in the U.S.”   

“It was Diana who figured out what the problem was,” said Freedman, referring to her longtime pharmacist Diana Arouchanova. “Had she not been on top of what I’m going through, God knows how many more weeks this could have potentially gone on.”

Arouchanova, who owns Clinicare Pharmacy in Northridge, reviewed Freedman’s medications and realized that her problem stemmed from the dangerous combination of two prescriptions. She got the physician to change the medications and started checking Freedman’s blood pressure daily. Soon, it began to drop. Continue reading