Respiratory Diseases and Healthy People 2020

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Healthy People 2020 is an update on prior Healthy People initiatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with health promotion and disease prevention goals. It recognizes a consensus among clinicians, scientists, and public health experts on the need to emphasize and encourage wellness initiatives and outcomes. Its overarching themes are to minimize health disparities and increase access to care. Among the goals for patients with respiratory disease are reductions in hospitalizations, ER visits, activities missed resulting from exacerbation of the disease, and missed school days, along with increases in the proportion of patients with care plans and disease management education. It is noted that many of the goals are more likely to be achieved with proper vaccination against influenza, an often underestimated and potentially lethal disease. 

Arabyat et al undertook an investigation into influenza vaccination coverage among patients with COPD and acquired data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for their study.1 They used Andersen's healthcare utilization model to frame their research. They found a 53% vaccination rate among COPD patients. Older age was a significant predisposing factor that increased odds of vaccination. Predisposing factors that decreased vaccination were being Black or Hispanic and being a non-smoker. Significant enabling factors associated with greater likelihood of vaccination were having health insurance, a primary physician, and the ability to see a physician regardless of cost. Significant need factors included the presence of comorbidities such as asthma or diabetes, activity limitation, and having a medical checkup within the past year. The researchers concluded that influenza vaccination coverage among COPD patients is far below the Healthy People 2020 national goal and that pharmacists can improve vaccination rates among COPD patients by recognizing these influencing factors and by acting as advocates, counselors, and administrators of the influenza vaccine. Pharmacy managers should be aware of Healthy People 2020 goals as a matter of public health and identify opportunities where pharmacy can help in attaining these goals, possibly leveraging them for reimbursement.

Additional information about Value-Added Services as a Component of Enhancing Pharmacist’ Roles in Public Health in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing. 

1Arabyat RM, Raisch DW, Bakhireva L. Influenza vaccination for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Implications for pharmacists. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018;14:162-169.

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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Shane Desselle 4 months ago

How involved currently would you say that pharmacy is involved in public health, especially compared with years ago?