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RxAlly campaign targets high blood pressure
June 21st, 2012
LEESBURG, Va. – RxAlly plans to launch Heart to Heart, a blood pressure education campaign aimed at helping people prevent and control hypertension.
The nationwide pharmacy network, which includes over 22,000 pharmacies, said Thursday that its campaign will support the federal Million Hearts initiative, which aims to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.
Plans call for RxAlly's Performance Network to educate patients about the importance of getting periodic blood pressure screenings and urge pharmacist involvement in the care of and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
RxAlly pharmacies — including independent pharmacies, regional chain pharmacies and Walgreens — will offer free blood pressure screenings to help educate patients of the need to "know their numbers" and, if necessary, to take steps to lower their blood pressure to lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
"For the millions of people diagnosed with heart disease, medication is their primary source of treatment. However, research shows that more than half of patients don't take their medication as prescribed by their doctors," RxAlly chief executive officer Bruce Roberts said in a statement. "Often, medications used to treat cardiovascular disease do not show immediate and visible results to the patient, which is why it is critical for pharmacists to counsel patients in adhering to their medication regimens to yield the best possible health outcomes."
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation is teaming up with RxAlly on the awareness campaign.
"We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues at RxAlly on Heart to Heart," stated Mindy Smith, executive director of the APhA Foundation. "We are excited to support a program in which patients and pharmacists focus to improve medication use and the quality of consumer health outcomes related to lowering blood pressure and preventing heart attacks and strokes."
RxAlly said its member pharmacists are stepping up to identify patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, educate and counsel them to improve blood pressure control, and work with other members of their health care team to provide support and share responsibility for hypertension care. That entails medication management, patient followup and promoting adherence to patients' blood pressure control plan, including monitoring blood pressure routinely, taking medications as prescribed, reducing sodium in the diet, and increasing physical activity.
Among hypertension patients, an estimated 89,000 premature deaths per year could be avoided with proper medication treatment, RxAlly reported.
"It's so important for individuals to know they can work with their pharmacist — as well as their doctor, nurse or other health worker — to improve blood pressure control," commented Million Hearts executive director Janet Wright, M.D. "The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends team-based care for improving blood pressure control because when primary care physicians, pharmacists and other health care professionals work together to support their patients, they can find the right formula for getting blood pressure under control."