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Unit cost of diabetes screening in community pharmacy

Author: Chanuttha Ploylearmsang and Taveeporn Soondon

Category: Pharmacy


Diabetes mellitus, one of major health concerns of the world, can be early detected to provide better care. The disease involves not less than 60% of people in Thai communities who are not aware of their high risk diabetic factors and have never been screened for early diagnosis. Community pharmacy has started a new role in the primary health care to support disease awareness and increase screening coverage on individual basis with cost-effectiveness evaluation. A cross-sectional descriptive study was thus designed by comparing among 3, 6 and 2 accredited community pharmacies in 3 provinces, Nakorn Ratchasrima, Khon Kaen and Maha Sarakham, respectively, so as to rationalize this diabetes screening model during October 2008- March 2009. Diabetes screening was conducted for customers who met the criteria of at risk diabetes, resulting in a total of 1,482 cases. Unit cost of the diabetes screening was investigated in the provider perspective, including direct medical cost. The maximum screening number was 30 cases/month/ pharmacy. There were about 10% of the high risk cases who successfully referred for medical care with confirmatory diagnosis. The unit cost of each diabetes screening per visit was estimated to be about 64 baht (? US$ 2), costing from 50% labor, 44% materials and 6% capital. This estimated unit cost tends to be a guideline for performance-based payment mechanism for screening service in an accredited community pharmacy. It is concluded that diabetes screening by community pharmacists in accredited pharmacies are able to promote community’s interest on diabetes. The figure of 10% at risk diabetes who were screened and early treated in appropriate settings was thought to be lower than actual.

Keywords: community medical unit community pharmacy diabetes screening medical cost primary health care unit cost