An American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) report discusses how pharmacists can help patients manage their COPD and improve care.

Danny Fu, ambulatory care pharmacy supervisor for chronic care management pharmacy services at Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast in Concord, North Carolina, started his COPD work as part of a pharmacy residency project for the internal medicine clinic that is now his work site.

He said pharmacists in the office were already involved in anticoagulation, infectious diseases, and lipid management clinics before he began his residency. But many of the practice’s patients were older and had smoked for decades or had occupational exposure to pollutants that increase the risk of COPD.

“There was a big COPD population, and [the medical staff] were interested in getting pharmacists involved and see what we could do” to help, Fu said.

For the residency project, he said, “we thought to have a COPD clinic modeled after our other chronic disease clinics and bring patients in for education, go over their medications, optimize their therapy, [and] watch their inhaler technique.” Pharmacists worked closely with physicians in a collaborative environment, he said.

Although Fu’s residency is over, patients with COPD are still referred to the clinic to receive care from a pharmacist. He said the clinic hasn’t formally examined outcomes data for patients with COPD whose care includes comprehensive pharmacy services, but he believes the program is a success.

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