Background: A key element missing in disease-management programs for heart failure (HF) is participation of the community pharmacist. The purpose of this study is to determine if a simple and efficient clinical tool will allow community pharmacists to identify patients at risk for worsening HF.
Design: The One Minute Clinic for Heart Failure (TOM-C HF) was developed as a simple six-item symptom screening tool to be used during routine patient/customer interactions.
Setting: Ten community pharmacies located in the upper Midwest.
Patients: Self-identified HF patients.
Results: 121 unique patients were evaluated over a 12-month period. The application of this clinical tool took between 1 and 5 minutes in over 80% of the interactions. Seventy-five patients (62%) had one or more signs or symptoms of worsening HF. The most common symptoms detected included edema (39%) and increased shortness of breath (17%). Self-reported weight gain of more than 5 pounds was seen in 19% of patients.
Conclusion: The TOM-C HF tool was used to identify patients in a time-efficient manner in the community pharmacy setting who appear to be developing worsening HF. Inclusion of the community pharmacists as an early screen for HF decompensation may be an important link in disease-management programs to help reduce hospital readmission rates.