Over the last year, we have been part of many meetings that discuss the importance and role of pharmacists in patient care. With the passing of the ACA, there has been an influx of patients into the healthcare system, adding to the numbers of patients who require an understanding of the importance of being adherent to their medication regimen.
I believe all would agree that pharmacists are the last line in patient care. However, they are not at home with the patients, who are deciding how, when and why to take their medications. And, patients who do not take medications as prescribed are the most costly to the system.
Pharmacists are trained to talk to patients about their medications and answer any questions they may have, but the challenge they face is time. Most pharmacists are not directly compensated for patient counseling, so where is the value to them in the additional interaction? The majority of pharmacy, retail and independent pharmacy management would like their pharmacists to provide these services to customers however, pharmacists are already stretched.
We know there are a number of important areas that pharmacists could impact, provided they had the time, training and appropriate compensation. These include, but are not limited to these areas:
With so many skilled individuals working in the healthcare system, we need to understand how to best utilize them effectively as the increasing number of patients put more pressure on already limited health services. At the end of the day, we want patients have all their questions answered and go home willing and able to take their medicines as directed.