The Pharmacy’s Evolving Role in Patient Care

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Pharmacy has long been a product and task-oriented profession, focused solely on dispensing prescribed medications for patients. The pharmacy’s actual involvement in the patient care process has been extremely limited for many years, if even present at all. As a result, pharmacies have struggled to prove their true value to their patients. But in recent years, this dynamic has taken a turn for the better!

The shift

Pharmacy is maturing from a strictly clinical profession to a more patient-oriented profession, and thus, the responsibility of the pharmacist is changing as well1. Pharmacies were previously removed from the health care process as soon as they dispensed a patient’s prescribed medications. Now, many pharmacies are beginning to monitor patient health and health progress in an effort to optimize their response to medication therapies2. This shift is a game-changer because it’s alive with new revenue opportunities … which means more money for your pharmacy! Win!

While responsibilities vary among different areas of pharmacy practice, the bottom line is that pharmacies are helping their patients lead healthier lives2. Pharmacies now serve as a place where patients can obtain health advice and assistance when it comes to managing chronic disease states with medication.  In fact, community pharmacists around the world are serving as medication experts, providing pharmacological advice to their patients when needed1. As true experts in the chemical, biological, and physical properties of drugs, the pharmacist can analyze the effectiveness on the drug on the patient while ensuring that a patient’s medications don’t interact in a harmful way2.

Due to the ease of accessibility, pharmacists will often times be the first point of contact in the healthcare system for both developed and still-developing areas1. The care a pharmacist provides may very well be the only care the patient receives. Because the pharmacy is both accessible and capable of educating their patients, they have become uniquely prepared to drive a positive shift in the public health sphere.

Sources:

  1. The Evolving Role of the Community Pharmacist in Chronic Disease Management (2010, November). Retrieved December 11th, 2017, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pradeep_George/publication/49690358_The_evolving_role_of_the_community_pharmacist_in_chronic_disease_management_-_A_literature_review/links/02e7e51f0ca51bfac4000000.pdf
  2. Role of a Pharmacist (2017). Retrieved December 11th, 2017, from http://www.pharmcas.org/preparing-to-apply/about-pharmacy/role-of-a-pharmacist/


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