You conduit, you.

December 30, 2013By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy

Posted by Dave Wendland

Although difficult to predict given the rollout issues and ongoing debate around the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are emerging opportunities afforded community pharmacy. In this post I will share four areas worth examination: 1) accessibility; 2) education; 3) coaching; and 4) medication compliance.

First and foremost, there is the benefit of access. There is little argument that no other healthcare professional has the same availability as the pharmacist. With no need for appointments and without additional obstacles, access to a pharmacist is relatively easy. Busy providing clinical advice, filling an ever-increasing volume of prescriptions, managing the red tape of healthcare reimbursement issues, and reinforcing the benefits of adherence, the pharmacist is one of the hardest working professionals in the mix. But their knowledge around health and wellness care issues, coupled with their day-to-day visibility to a patient’s health condition, is second to none.access to a pharmacist is relatively easy

Health information – and consumer interest in seeking it – has never been more intense. Continually cited as one of the Internet’s most popular topics, finding health-related content is easy. Thoroughly vetting that information and using it to make good health decisions is where the disconnect resides. Imagine putting a pharmacist in the role of educator and counselor. Not only does their experience and education permit them to translate complex information into practical, sensible knowledge, but their ability to work one-on-one with patients is of huge benefit.

Largely focused on preventive care, the ACA has been crafted to help patients make better health choices to avoid acute care or later-in-life chronic conditions. Lifestyle coaching can be of tremendous value and patient benefit. Perhaps not solely, but by coordinating and serving as a player-coach on a team of healthcare professionals, team leadership can be an invaluable role for the pharmacist.

Lastly, there is the  issue of patient adherence and compliance. Certainly this has been spotlighted repeatedly in recent years, and the pharmacist has a significant role in this equation.  Providing services such as the synchronization of medications, coordination of health regimens, and recommendations of complementary products that may thwart side effects are several ways that the pharmacist can have a positive impact.

It is increasingly evident that patients today have access to a broader range of services and care from pharmacies than the traditional dispensing of medicines. Progressive pharmacists increasingly provide services that help people stay well and use their medicines to best effect. As I jotted this blog it became increasingly clear that the pharmacist is the ideal healthcare “conduit.” They are perfectly positioned to connect patients with the right medication, offer educational guidance and resources, coordinate other healthcare team members, and monitor a patient’s prescription regimen. In my opinion, pharmacists will put CARE at the center of ACA.


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