J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2023 Sep 4:S1544-3191(23)00293-5. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2023.08.022. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Community health workers (CHWs) are health professionals who are experts in linking patients to health resources. Although CHWs are employed in a variety of health institutions, access to their services may be challenging for patients in underserved locations. Community pharmacies are uniquely positioned to mitigate this barrier as they provide readily accessible care for patients residing in these areas.
OBJECTIVES: To 1) quantify and report the CHW services provided by CPhTs in an underserved population and 2) provide an initial framework for the implementation of CHW services in community pharmacies or similar healthcare settings.
METHODS: This prospective cohort study reports the findings of training CPhTs as CHWs in three independent community pharmacies from January 1, 2021 to July 1, 2021. CPhT-CHWs conducted monthly visits by phone, patient home, or pharmacy and documented services using a standardized assessment form. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the baseline characteristics of the patient population, service codes, types of services, and referrals made, and time spent per visit by CPhT-CHWs.
RESULTS: A total of 198 patient visits by phone, patient home, or at the pharmacy were completed in a six-month timespan. During these visits, the CPhT-CHW provided 351 services (203 primary services and 149 secondary services) and completed 51 referrals. The average time spent per visit (standard deviation) was 15.5 (11.5) 68.9 (35.4), and 30.6 (16.8) minutes for phone, home, and pharmacy visits, respectively. Patient home visits resulted in the highest average primary services per visit, longest time spent with the patient, and accounted for a majority of social services.
CONCLUSIONS: CPhT-CHWs were able to use various methods to contact these patients to further develop patient-to-provider and patient-to-pharmacy relationships. Training CPhTs as CHWs can be an effective way to increase patient contact and provide additional health services.