Cost of a pharmacist-directed intervention to increase treatment of hypercholesterolemia

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Study Objective. To evaluate the cost of a pharmacist-directed intervention that prompts physicians to treat hypercholesterolemia more aggressively in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Methods. Health care resource use and CHD outcomes were evaluated for 612 patients with CHD followed for 2 years after an index hospitalization for an ischemic event. After discharge, the physicians of 309 patients who had been admitted from January 1-March 31, 1999, were contacted by telephone and mail concerning lipid profiles and statin therapy. These patients were the intervention group. Controls were 303 patients admitted from October 1-December 31, 1998; their physicians were not contacted. Costs of the physician-prompting intervention, clinic visits, laboratory tests, statin drugs, and CHD outcomes were compared between these two patient groups. Results. The number of clinic visits, laboratory tests, and statins prescribed was significantly greater for the intervention group versus the controls. A significantly higher percentage of patients in the intervention group (55%) than in the control group (18%) achieved their National Cholesterol Education Program target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and had significantly better CHD outcomes. The cost of the physician-prompting intervention (pharmacist salaries, postage, telephone calls) was $102,941. For patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively, the cost of statin therapy was $352,365 and $200,087, the cost of clinic visits and laboratory tests $48,097 and $27,367, and the cost of coronary heart disease outcomes, such as myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft, percutaneous transluminal and coronary angioplasty, $1,073,495 and $1,741,220. The total cost was $1,576,898 and $1,968,674, respectively, for patients in the intervention and control groups. Net savings was $1394/patient over the 2-year period. Conclusion. A relatively simple physician-prompting intervention involving patients with CHD significantly improved the use of lipid testing and statin therapy. Improved use of statins was associated with better CHD outcomes. As a result, the physician-prompting intervention was associated with cost savings. This intervention should be implemented for patients with CHD discharged after hospitalization for an ischemic event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1083
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 16 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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