DEERFIELD, Ill. — Daily testing for cholesterol, blood glucose and A1c levels is now available at more than 1,400 Walgreens stores in 33 states and Washington, D.C. The initiative expands the scope of preventive health care services offered by the retailer’s pharmacists.
“Providing convenient, affordable access to health testing services is an important part of our commitment to disease prevention and chronic care management,” says Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreen Co.. “Our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing, and other important services.”
The health care tests, which pharmacists administer by finger stick, are available to individuals age 18 and over at select stores during pharmacy hours. No appointment is necessary.
Prices for the testing are: total cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein), $30; blood glucose, $20; and A1c (for self-identified diabetes patients only), $35. Blood pressure checks and pharmacist consultations are available free with every health test.
Walgreens emphasizes that test results are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive “as to the absence or presence of” any health condition. Recipients are encouraged to share results with their primary care physician.
The company began offering scheduled testing days at select stores last December. According to Walgreens, more than 40% of the patients who received cholesterol and blood glucose tests at these locations tested with levels considered out of the desired range or high.
As part of routine follow-up with participants who received above-normal testing results, Walgreens learned that more than one-third had scheduled an appointment with their primary care physician as a result of the test.
Furthermore, in February free blood pressure testing was conducted daily at all of the more than 7,600 Walgreens stores and Take Care Clinics nationwide in conjunction with American Heart Month. More than half of those tested had above-normal blood pressure readings.
Walgreens also conducted blood glucose and A1c testing at select stores and Take Care Clinics over three time periods from November 2009 through November 2010. Nearly 300,000 tests were administered during these events, with more than 20% of the patients testing out of the desired range.
“These tests are an important part of preventive health care,” says Walgreens chief medical officer Cheryl Pegus. “Our pharmacists are educating consumers about the importance of ‘knowing your numbers’ and consulting with health care providers.”
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