Background: There is a need to improve blood glucose levels of underserved Latino patients with uncontrolled diabetes.
Objective: To determine the feasibility of a pharmacist and health promoter team designed to address the barriers to medication adherence and adjustment and improve self-care among Latinos with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: Clinical staff at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center referred Latino patients with uncontrolled diabetes (hemoglobin A(1c) [A1C] > or =8.0%) to the study. A research assistant assessed patients on diabetes and medical history, medication list, medication adherence and related habits, health literacy, diabetes knowledge and numeracy, beliefs in benefits of diabetes therapy, depression, social support, and access to care. A bilingual, bicultural health promoter reviewed these assessments and worked with patients through home and clinic visits and telephone calls. The health promoter communicated with a pharmacist to receive assistance in medication management (reconciliation and adjustment). Participants received case management for 6 months.
Results: Nine patients were successfully recruited. The mean age was 58 years and mean duration of diabetes was 21 years. Successful collaboration between pharmacists and the health promoter required frequent communication and intense effort to address complex patient barriers. Health promoter contact time, in person, per participant ranged from 0 minutes to 640 minutes, and telephone call time ranged from 27 minutes to 111 minutes during the study period. Eight participants had medication adjustments during the study period, with a maximum of 7 adjustments per participant. Mean hemoglobin A1C declined from an average of 9.6% to 9.0%. Two patients are presented as case studies to describe how the pharmacist-health promoter team functioned. Information was obtained from health promoter records, survey results, and chart reviews.
Conclusions: The pharmacist and health promoter team management of uncontrolled diabetes among Latinos appears to be a feasible approach to improving medication management.