Walgreen Co. has partnered with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group of Chicago to develop a coordinated health care program.

Walgreens, Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group of Chicago, NMPG, coordinated health care program, pharmacist, physician, doctor, drug store chain, health care, collaborative care, Kermit Crawford, primacy care physicians, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, health and wellness, health care system, health care delivery, pharmacist clinical interventions, Daniel Derman, Johns Hopkins

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Walgreens spurs pharmacist-physician teamwork

June 8th, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has partnered with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group of Chicago to develop a coordinated health care program.

The drug store chain said Wednesday that through the collaborative care model, Walgreens will share with primary care doctors of selected Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG) patients the results of pharmacist clinical interventions.

NMPG is a multisite practice of primary care physicians who are on the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and practice at affiliated locations throughout Chicago, Northbrook and Lake County, Ill.

"This relationship is a great example of how health care organizations can work together to improve patient care while also benefitting our health care system at large," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, said in a statement. "We've already seen cases that speak to the effectiveness of the program and further demonstrate the important role our expansive network of pharmacists can play in the future of health care delivery."

According to Walgreens, the program is being implemented for the drug chain's and NMPG employees who have the physicians group as their primary care provider, and the effort currently focuses on people with hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia. Patients with these high-cost chronic disease states will receive point-of-care counseling or an intervention as part of the integrated services offered.

Information from interventions will be provided to each patient's primary care physician, giving physicians access to important clinical information from Walgreens. For each disease state, Walgreens pharmacists and NMPG doctors have collaboratively developed an intervention plan, with sessions featuring a series of questions designed to maximize adherence and help patients better understand their disease.

"Many of our chronic disease patients tell us they see their pharmacist more often than they do their doctor," Crawford noted. "Giving physicians further insight into patient behaviors and working with them to spend more time talking with patients can help reduce health care costs and, more importantly, improve a patient's overall health"

Northwestern Memorial is one of the nation's leading academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 854 beds, 1,603 affiliated physicians and 7,144 employees.

"It's invaluable for our physicians to have a pharmacist as a clinical partner sharing this type of information that can be critical to a patient's health," stated Daniel Derman, M.D., president of NMPG and vice president at Northwestern Memorial. "This benefits those patients tremendously because now there's a richer conversation with their primary doctor that is supported by the pharmacy documentation. It's a more complete way of serving patients, and it's particularly rewarding in this instance because those patients are also our employees."

Walgreens has sought to promote pharmacist-physician collaboration to enhance doctor decision-making and improve patient health outcomes.

Most recently, in late May, Walgreens announced an alliance with Johns Hopkins Medicine to spur teamwork on population-based research and jointly review and develop protocols to improve the health outcomes of patients with chronic diseases. Plans call for Walgreens and Johns Hopkins to explore the development of new models for improving care for individuals, including the creation of new educational and training programs for the drug chain's 70,000 health care providers.