Pharmacies trial diabetes test

amcal, pharmacy, sigmaAmcal and Guardian pharmacies have begun a national pilot program to test patients for diabetes in a more effective, convenient and systematic approach using new standard testing equipment in pharmacies, which measures the HbA1c.

In six minutes a new pinprick test is able to accurately tell patients if they need to be referred to a GP for further consultation about diabetes risk. For those already diagnosed by their GP, the test provides strong and convenient indications of how effectively the patient is managing their condition.

The pilot program is assessing two different laboratory quality technology solutions for testing HbA1c. Blood taken by the pinprick test is analysed in just over six minutes, and provides an indication of blood glucose levels over an extended period – a more accurate and efficient indicator of diabetes risk.

Until now the only pinprick glucose testing available in pharmacies measured a patient’s blood sugar level at the point of testing (which can be highly influenced by what they’ve just eaten) and therefore was not as accurate or effective.

For patients already diagnosed as diabetic, the results of the pinprick test provide important information for the patient to hold informed discussions with their pharmacist regarding their medication and whether a review with their GP is required.

The pilot program is being trialled in 15 Amcal and Guardian stores in four states around Australia (full list below) and if successful will be rolled out across the broader network of these pharmacies.

The pharmacists at these stores have undergone additional training to ensure patients are appropriately tested, counselled, and referred. To ensure undiagnosed patients are not unnecessarily tested, patients first complete the AUSD risk assessment questionnaire.

“This new diabetes test is a quick and simple risk assessment tool for diabetes which we believe will allow people to more accurately determine whether they have a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Sigma believes this test will help improve the quality of life of those who don’t know they have diabetes,’’ said Gary Dunne, Sigma’s COO.

“Sigma is constantly striving for new innovative ways to improve the health services available to our customers in our Amcal and Guardian pharmacies because our pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers in community health,’’ he said.

The new tests are aimed at preventing the onset of a range of medical issues associated with diabetes, which can affect the feet, eyes, kidneys, as well as the cardiovascular health of sufferers and are aimed at those people at risk of a diabetes profile including people who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes or develop other risk factors.

The pharmacies conducting the new diabetes test are:

Amcal Max Devonport (TAS)
Amcal Max Burnie (TAS)
Amcal Portland (VIC)
Amcal Deloraine (TAS)
Amcal Max Doncaster East (VIC)
Amcal Max Rouse Hill (NSW)
Amcal Urunga (NSW)
Amcal Wilsonton (QLD)
Amcal Bairnsdale (VIC)
Corrimal Court Guardian (NSW)
Amcal Max Salamander Bay (NSW)
Amcal Max Kempsey (NSW)
Amcal Whittlesea (VIC)
Amcal Max Mordialloc (VIC)
Amcal Max Greensborough (VIC)
Amcal Max Deception Bay (QLD)


1 comment

  1. AB posted on May 13, 2015

    A quick question - Is there a fee for this test/service and if yes, can it be claimed through Medicare? Also a have a couple of comments - * Rather than using the term "diabetic" it is preferable to describe some-one with diabetes as "a person already diagnosed with diabetes" or "a person with diabetes" * Screening is for people at risk of type 2 diabetes only * The descriptor "finger prick testing " is used rather than "pin-prick" as most people think this means a pin is being used to obtain a sample rather than a single use lancet * This is not a new test as Point-of-Care meters have been used in Diabetes Clinics since the late 1980's. The first versions took 12, then 9 minutes. * Using a HbA1c for screening of type 2 diabetes has only been recognised recently in Australia with Medicare approving it in November 2014 for people without symptoms but at risk to be tested once a year. * The accuracy of a HbA1c result can be effected by elevated or low levels of haemoglobin as this test measures the effect of glucose on the red blood cell of its life of around 120 days - so the result can be compromised * Being diagnosed doesn't really have any impact on quality of life - managing diabetes does It is an important initiative to bring the pharmacist into the team who supports the journey of a person with or at risk of diabetes especially with the increased types of medication to treat type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Med Checks are useful service provided by a pharmacist.

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