Collaborative Study Looks at Patients with COPD

Published on 13 October 2016

In a groundbreaking research project, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is partnering with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to study treatment patterns in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Results from this study will expand the knowledge of how closely COPD treatment confirmed in pharmacies adheres to current guidelines.

“This complex, collaborative study aims to add important knowledge about COPD by assessing the severity of the disease, and treatment in patients who visit community pharmacies,” said Sue Bollmeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, AE-C, principal investigator and professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “No one has looked at COPD treatment in patients who visit community pharmacies in this way.”

COPD is the third leading cause of death in America. Annual spending on treatment, hospitalizations and lost productivity is expected to increase to $49 billion in just a few years. The research will be conducted in Missouri, which has one of the highest rates of COPD in the country. Project partners include Missouri Pharmacist Care Network (MO-PCN), the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), and Missouri Health Connection (MHC). GSK has committed $176,000 to fund this research project.

“As a company with a strong respiratory focus, GSK is excited about the opportunity to partner with the College and MO-PCN to assess COPD care. Community-based studies allow for a unique opportunity to enhance the understanding of COPD,” said Richard Stanford, Pharm.D., M.S., senior director of U.S. outcomes research at GSK.

Pharmacists Helping Patients

Many patients with COPD will see their community pharmacists more frequently than their pulmonologist or primary care provider. This makes community pharmacies an important area for research.

“COPD is a common and costly disease that community pharmacists are well-positioned to address,” said Sandra Bollinger, Pharm.D., FASCP, CGP, CDE, CPT, MO-PCN consultant. “These pharmacists are vital in helping patients manage their COPD, explaining medication regimens and improving the patient’s understanding of their disease.”

Investigators will be using the treatment guidelines from the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease as the basis of their research. These recommendations were established by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the World Health Organization. They provide clinicians a standardized set of tools to identify COPD symptoms and risks of flare-ups and aids in guiding medication treatment.

“Studies show that the inclusion of pharmacists in a patient’s health care improves outcomes, increases patient satisfaction and reduces overall health care costs ,” adds Ron Fitzwater, CAE, CEO of MPA.

History of Improving Health Care

For more than 150 years, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has been a leader in advancing the practice of pharmacy and promoting the highest level of patient-centered care. The College actively supports research and many community-based projects with the goal of improving patient health.

“This project is consistent with the College’s mission and strategic initiatives, which include establishing a leadership role in bringing professional organizations and health care entities together to improve patient care,” said Bruce Canaday, Pharm.D, FASHP, FAPhA, dean of the school of pharmacy at the College. “It engages pharmacists across the state of Missouri and strengthens the College’s relationship with our state’s pharmacy association and its pharmacist provider network.”

Study Methodology

To conduct this research, the College has contracted with MO-PCN to enroll 875 patients from a network of 35 community pharmacies from across Missouri over a six-month period.

“This innovative project is a great way to tackle a serious problem in COPD,” said
B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, CEO of NCPA. “I am confident that this study will yield fresh evidence of how community pharmacists deliver meaningful value in today’s health care system.”

The project is reliant on the expertise of a wide range of groups.

“For the first time, MHC is working with higher education and community pharmacies, supporting the awareness, advancement and importance of health information exchange,” said Officer Angie Bass, M.H.A., chief executive of MHC.

In addition to Bollmeier, investigators include Theresa R. Prosser, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, AE-C, and Terry L. Seaton, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS. Both are professors of pharmacy practice at the College. Project manager is Cheryl A. Hoffer, B.S., vice president, pharmacist program initiatives at Missouri Pharmacy Association and director, pharmacy program support at the College. St. Louis College of Pharmacy P3 student Kristine Reckenberg is the research assistant.

About the Participants

St. Louis College of Pharmacy

For more than 150 years, St. Louis College of Pharmacy has been committed to educating the best pharmacists in the United States. The region’s only independent college of pharmacy, St. Louis College of Pharmacy is the third oldest continuously operating and among the largest colleges of pharmacy in America. The student body is comprised of nearly 1,400 students, representing 30 states and 16 countries. The College admits students directly from high school and accepts transfer students and graduates from other colleges and universities in the sophomore and junior years of the undergraduate program and the first year of the professional program. Students earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) with an integrated Bachelor of Science degree in a seven-year curriculum. An education at the College opens up the world to graduates for a career in a wide range of practice settings. Graduates have a 100 percent job placement rate.

GlaxoSmithKline

GSK is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies and is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. GSK’s research includes a Collaborative Research Program which allows for partnerships with academic, payer and policy groups to develop research of mutual interest that furthers the understanding of disease and assess programs that improve patient care.

Missouri Pharmacist Care Network

MO-PCN is a pharmacist provider network designed to support or administer the state’s pharmacist patient care delivery opportunities, for pharmacists across all practice settings. MO-PCN operates as a limited liability company under the MPA umbrella, capitalizing on the strengths imparted by the reach and influence of its association affiliation. MO-PCN supports the research project pharmacy contracting and operations implementation, working jointly with participating chain and independent pharmacies. For more information, visit mo-pcn.com.

Missouri Pharmacy Association

Established in 1879, MPA's mission is to promote and protect the role of pharmacists as the medication expert in patient care relationships and as an integral part of the health care team. MPA is a committed group of professional pharmacists, supporting the professional ideas for which pharmacy stands. In today's changing health care environment, this is critical so both the profession and the public may have the best in pharmacy care and service. Additional information is available at morx.com.

National Community Pharmacists Association

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $81.4 billion health care marketplace and employ more than 314,000 individuals on a full or part-time basis. To learn more, go to ncpanet.org.

Missouri Health Connection

MHC is the state-designated health information exchange organization that provides a secure and private electronic services for sharing health information, which improves communication, efficiency, and quality of care. Currently, over 8.5 million patients have opted in and allow the exchange of their personal health information. The MHC suite of applications includes MHC CareMail, which will be used to securely exchange protected health information with other enrolled providers. For additional information, go to missourihealthconnection.org.

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