Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In Arizona, heart disease is the leading cause of death. While we applaud the work of the many health care professionals who play a critical role in reducing heart disease and preventing stroke in the United States and in Arizona, we also know that more can be done and that we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal. Pharmacists have a unique opportunity to have an effect on outcomes associated with heart disease and stroke by being proactive in identifying the needs of their patients and taking action to influence healthy behaviors. Pharmacists play a critical role in the multi-disciplinary team by creating formal relationships with physicians and other providers to allow for expanded services through Collaborative Practice Agreements, or CPA’s.
To assist in implementing CPA’s in Arizona, the ADHS Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease, through its Heart Disease and Stroke Program, was selected along with state health departments from five other states by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors to participate in a CDC-sponsored learning program designed to accelerate team-based care using the pharmacists’ patient care process to manage high blood pressure. Along with pharmacy partners and primary care physicians, and in partnership with the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy, the Arizona Pharmacy Association, and CDC, ADHS staff will be developing and disseminating resource guides for expanding practice agreements across Arizona aimed at improving the management of high blood pressure. This is another critical milestone in achieving our goals in the Arizona Health Improvement Plan.