Evaluating the Effects of an Interdisciplinary Practice Model with Pharmacist Collaboration on HIV Patient Co-Morbidities

HIV patients are likely to have certain medical co-morbidities at a higher prevalence than members of their age group and are more vulnerable to adverse events related to these problems. For this reason, monitoring of patients with this condition is highly utilized through primary care clinics that specialize in the treatment of the infection in association with chronic disease states. The disease states common among HIV patients over the age of 60 include hypertension (45% of people), diabetes (21% of people), and vascular disease (23% of people). Interdisciplinary practice models used in treatment of patients with this condition have been effective in managing these chronic disease states. Because pharmacists play a crucial role in how HIV patients adhere to medications and treatment guidelines, this study focused on determining if there is a benefit to adding pharmacists to this inter professional team.

This study found that pharmacists were able to help in the management of  lipid levels and the cessation of smoking. Along with this, pharmacists were found to significantly decrease the amount of money these patients spend management of their individual chronic co-morbidities (with average savings of $3,000). For this reason, pharmacists involvement in the primary care of patients with HIV should expand past the provision of medications to include counseling and other services.

I think this study is important due to the fact that it represents how the role of a pharmacist within the health system is constantly changing. We are not only trusted sources of information for medications and proper treatment techniques, but we are also crucial in providing adequate counseling to patients. This is something that I believe has been a major focus throughout our studies in pharmacy school over the course of the year, and as a result, a feel I will be well prepared to fill this role in my future profession. This article makes me want to learn specific ways that I can help patients from this population manage their condition.

Cope R, Berkowitz L, Arcebido R, et al. Evaluating the effects of an interdisciplinary practice model with pharmacist collaboration on HIV patient co-morbidities. AIDS Patient Care and STDs. 2015, 29(8): 445-453

1 thought on “Evaluating the Effects of an Interdisciplinary Practice Model with Pharmacist Collaboration on HIV Patient Co-Morbidities”

  1. I found this post to be extremely relevant and also very reassuring following my SilverScripts experience last week where the patient I saw was diagnosed with HIV. Initially, I was nervous learning about my patient’s diagnosis, simply because I had no experience with the disease or medications to treat it. As you stated, it is important to be adaptable as a pharmacist and make your patients feel comforted and supported by staying on top of new diseases and new treatment options. In addition, the patient I cared for was also diagnosed with hypertension, which this article mentions as one of the most common co-morbidities associated with HIV. Reading this article also allowed me to understand ways in which pharmacists can manage these patients and offer smoking cessation counseling as well (my patient was also a long-time smoker). I was able to offer her some references on quitting, but this article provided more insight. Overall, after reading this post I feel more prepared for when I see my patient again when we go back to our SilverScript sites in March. It is important to recognize the positive impact that pharmacists can have on treating patients with HIV. I now feel that working as a student pharmacist with this patient through SilverScripts is providing essential care that she may not otherwise receive from her doctor.

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