Today’s pharmacies are at a significant crossroads between the conventional drug-dispensing identity of the past and a pioneering clinical role with health care provider status. For the past several decades, the concept of “provider status” has been tossed around at every pharmacy school, pharmacy association meeting and pharmacy work site. Provider status is frequently discussed at networking events, so you may be asking yourself “Is it really vital to our profession’s survival?” The answer is a definitive yes.
How will your pharmacy practice evolve to meet the needs of the 21st-century health care system? Pharmacists’ services have begun to grow well beyond functions tied only to dispensing medications. Many of today’s pharmacists also provide such advanced patient-centered services as:
- Coordination of medications (also known as a med-sync program)
- Medication management
- Comprehensive medication reviews with ongoing medication monitoring
- Chronic disease management
- Disease education
- Prevention and wellness services
- Patient education
For patients to achieve the full benefit of their medications, pharmacists must be an integral part of the health care team. Why is it so important for your pharmacy to achieve provider status?
Help the Economy
Improving quality of life and overall health in a cost-effective manner are important goals for everyone. Proper use of medications is essential to meeting that goal, particularly for those with chronic conditions requiring complex medication therapies. According to a 2009 study, the treatment of chronic diseases costs the U.S. health care system $1.7 trillion annually, accounting for about 75% of healthcare expenses. Even a small improvement in chronic disease management would result in substantial savings for your patients. As millions of Baby Boomers age into retirement, the opportunities to decrease costs are even more important to the economy.
Keep Your Customers Healthy
The impact of medication misuse is staggering. Each year, there are more than 1.5 million preventable medication-related adverse events in the United States alone. Furthermore, the health care system incurs nearly $290 billion dollars annually in mostly avoidable costs to treat issues that arise from inappropriate medication use. Non-adherence alone results in $100 billion each year in excess hospitalizations. Pharmacists like you bring comprehensive knowledge on the useof medications for the treatment, management and prevention of diseases to the health care team. You care about your customers, so achieving provider status is just one more way to give them the best care possible.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
If your pharmacy reaches provider status, your patients will no longer need to make an appointment with their primary care doctor for simple tests related to chronic diseases, patient assessments, and disease management. Your patients will maintain their health, have a better understanding of their medications and save money. If you can provide these additional services, patients will be increasingly loyal to your business.
When pharmacists are involved as active members of the healthcare team, patient outcomes improve, they report higher rates of satisfaction, and overall health care costs are reduced. Recognition and coverage of pharmacist-provided patient care services should create more incentives for pharmacy owners to expand the services offered and integrate these services into evolving business models. Understanding this and staying ahead of the competition is vital to your pharmacy’s success.
Pharmacy ownership is constantly evolving and the best way to make sure you remain ahead of the curve is to attend the industry’s main event. You will network with like-minded industry professionals and learn about every significant change to pharmacy ownership at the PDS Together Toward Tomorrow conference.