UF College of Pharmacy partners with local drugstore to provide free asthma assessment service
A University of Florida pharmacist is working with a local drugstore to launch an asthma assessment service that will include a lung function test typically found only in a hospital or doctor’s office.
As part of his residency training in patient care, Michael Ward, Pharm.D., has implemented the new program for Walgreens to add to its patient health screenings at the drugstore on East University Avenue and Waldo Road.
A community pharmacy practice resident at Walgreens working under UF faculty advisers Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D., and Brad Van Riper, Pharm.D., Ward said he wants to educate asthma patients on how they can get the best results while following their doctor’s prescribed plan. Ward has been trained in the use of spirometry — a breathing test that measures lung function, which was previously available only in hospitals or in a pulmonologist's office. Walgreens is the first to offer the test in a community pharmacy, Ward said.
By participating in the free service, patients can learn why particular medications are used to treat asthma, how they work and how to improve their asthma condition. In private counseling sessions, Ward teaches patients how to avoid asthma triggers and demonstrates proper inhaler techniques. All visits are documented and patients’ physicians are notified.
“Because it is easy for a patient to access a walk-in clinic at their local drugstore, pharmacists are in a position to aid physicians in treating asthma patients,” Ward said. “By helping the patient to better understand asthma control, pharmacists also help the doctor achieve a better success rate in asthma therapy.”
The Walgreens Patient Care Center, established in 1998 in collaboration with the UF College of Pharmacy, offers screenings for hypertension, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and diabetes in addition to the new asthma service.