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HealthPartners Institute study uses pharmacists to improve patient outcomes

February 27, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – HealthPartners Institute has received a $3.5 million grant award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to look at improving chronic disease outcomes and reducing costs by fully integrating retail pharmacists as part of the care team.

More than 50% of adults treated for diabetes, hypertension, or lipid disorders don’t have an ideal track record of taking their medications. It is a big barrier for improved health in chronic disease care in the United States. This project uses a clinical decision support tool to identify patients with issues taking their medications and applies a team approach to help them achieve evidence-based personalized goals for glucose, blood pressure, or lipids. The innovative team-based intervention integrates retail pharmacists into the primary care team for the first time outside of a fully integrated care environment.

Pharmacists will reach out to patients and review and discuss any questions or problems they are having with medications. The pharmacist and provider care will be coordinated through secure electronic communication. It incorporates the pharmacist assessment and recommendations when the patient visits their primary care provider.

“If this project is successful, it will expand the relationship between providers, pharmacists, and patients beyond the current norms of prescription fill/refills,” said Dr. JoAnn Sperl-Hillen, HealthPartners Institute Principal Investigator.

The impact the of intervention will be evaluated by examining data from eligible patients seen at 20 HealthPartners primary care clinics, 10 of which will be randomized to the intervention. The research team will assess the impact on patient experience and if it helps them take their medication regularly as well as changes in important outcomes such as hypertension control, glycemic control, and statin use. If the intervention is successful, it has the potential to become a new model of care that could benefit large numbers of patients with chronic disease.

About HealthPartners Institute

HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. One of the largest medical research and education centers in the Midwest, the Institute has about 400 studies underway each year, trains more than 700 medical residents and 1,400 students and provides continuing medical education for 25,000 clinicians as well as patient education and clinical quality improvement. For more information, visit

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