TRC Conversation: Asthma Control

Oct 9, 2014
Interventions from specialist pharmacists in the Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center® help patients gain a better understanding of their treatment regimen.
  • Asthma

What Happened?

A 62-year-old woman was three weeks late to refill Qvar® (beclomethasone), a maintenance inhaler for asthma.

Clinical Gap in Care

Asthma guidelines recommend regular use of a controller inhaler, as the medication only lasts in a patient’s system for 12 hours. These inhalers work to reduce inflammation and provide ongoing disease management. They should be used routinely, often once or twice daily, even when the patient is symptom free.

Without regular treatment, patients are at risk for long-term complications, narrowing of the bronchial passages causing a flare up of symptoms and visits to the doctor or emergency room.

Specialist Pharmacist Intervention

A specialist pharmacist from the Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource Center® detected the patient’s nonadherence and made an outreach. The patient had a lack of understanding about how the medication worked and was unable to track her inhalations.

Case Study Pulmonary TRC

This is a recording of an actual call between a patient and an Express Scripts specialist pharmacist. The patient’s voice has been altered to protect the patient’s privacy.

The specialist pharmacist explained the importance of regular inhaler use and helped the patient receive a 90-day supply through home delivery from the Express Scripts PharmacySM. She now has a plan for tracking inhalations to achieve better symptom control. In turn, this will lead to a better quality of life with fewer limitations on daily activities and fewer doctor or ER visits.

Why It Matters

Specialist pharmacists are highly trained in behavioral health communications, such as motivational interviewing, to help patients overcome issues related to adherence when they are ambivalent to changing their behavior. Patients are much more likely to become adherent when they make the decision themselves and understand the importance of their medication in a nonprescriptive fashion that supports their self-efficacy.

A strong roster of specialist pharmacists focusing on patients with needs in a specific area, such as our Pulmonary TRC, is one of the unique ways Express Scripts helps patients stay on the right treatment and avoid unnecessary, harmful, adverse events. We call it Health Decision Science: the application of clinical specialization and behavioral sciences combined with actionable data to enable better decisions and healthier outcomes.

Click to download an overview of this conversation.

Author Bio

Lab Staff
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