The Expanding Yet Critical Role Of Pharmacists
As American adults get older, the need for quality healthcare has increased significantly. Some have at least one chronic disease needing multiple medications, treatments, and other critical support. More and more medical personnel are getting involved in patients’ overall health to improve the treatment success rate. However, few are as crucial as being a pharmacist. This role has been changing and expanding over the years to support and coordinate care. Here are some of the ways a pharmacist improves overall healthcare.
Your trusted guide
The community pharmacist is no longer someone to dispense medication. This expert builds rapport with patients. By consolidating all prescriptions in one area, patients and pharmacists can understand better medicine. The patient can then discuss side effects, difficulties, and medication concerns. Pharmacists can give solid advice and guide when the patient is not with the doctor.
They know medicine inside and out
As the saying goes, a doctor can write a prescription, but the pharmacist knows the right prescription. With years of experience in medication, the pharmacist can ensure the drug is working effectively. Pharmacists identify potentially dangerous food, drug, and supplement interactions. Furthermore, patients can take over-the-counter medicines safely with the pharmacist’s guidance. If a patient needs to stop a drug, the pharmacist will know the proper tapering steps to avoid the risk of rebounding or withdrawal.
Review, coordinate, and recommend
Some patients have multiple doctors and receive numerous prescriptions. Some Americans take 3 or more prescription pills a day. Managing these drugs can be difficult and, as is often the case, lead to non-adherence or misuse. Pharmacists can perform Medication Therapy Management (MTM). MTM uses a combination of reviews, recording, education, and coordination to ensure the patient has maximum benefit. If needed, the pharmacist can recommend compounding, changing prescriptions, or discontinuing the ineffective medication.
They advocate for price
Medication is expensive. Compared to the developed world, the average American pays close to 3 times more for prescriptions. Pharmacists understand that price could be a challenge to good health. Most pharmacists are affiliated with programs that can save patients money on drugs. Others can coordinate and advocate with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the intermediaries between large pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists. That means less spending and more access to critical medication for patients.
Quick testing and support
Patients would not have constant contact or access to doctors to manage chronic conditions. Community pharmacists can perform healthcare services like medication reviews, blood pressure testing, glucose testing, and much more. Combined with medication knowledge, pharmacists can guide patients on current readings and, in some cases, request testing.
Medicine through compounding
Part of complete healthcare is having access to much-needed prescriptions. If these drugs are unavailable or in an undesirable form, treatment and disease management becomes difficult. Some community pharmacists can perform compounding. Compounding is the ability to mix or combine raw ingredients or multiple medications into one form. This skill helps meet the individual needs of patients. If the pharmacist cannot compound, some can request the drug from a compounding pharmacy on the patient’s behalf.
Enjoy 360-degree healthcare
Healthcare should no longer happen in silos. The different providers play a role in improving a patient’s overall health. Pharmacists are crucial for understanding, managing, and even changing medication. Patients should build a relationship with a community pharmacist and get the best out of prescriptions. The pharmacist should continue to educate the patient so that everyone can win.