Taking evolving healthcare roles to the streets

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The Doobie Brothers once recorded a song called "Taking It to the Streets," and that's kind of what Walgreens did when two top executives took the message of the changing role of the community pharmacist on the road.

(THE NEWS: WAG VP talks to Chicago Tribune about changing role of pharmacist. For the full story, click here)

During the 11th annual Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium on March 15 in Philadelphia, Walgreens chief medical officer Cheryl Pegus spoke to members of the medical community on the evolving role of pharmacists and the positive impact of face-to-face interactions at both community pharmacies and employer worksite health clinics.

Pegus, who was named Walgreens CMO in May 2010 and has more than 18 years of clinical practice and industry experience under her belt, not only highlighted the broader range of services offered by today's pharmacists, but also discussed how extensive data has shown that face-to-face interactions between pharmacists and patients significantly improve medication adherence. Improved medication adherence, in turn, means reduced costs to the U.S. healthcare system and better health outcomes for patients.

Just two days after Pegus' presentation, Richard Ashworth, Walgreens VP pharmacy services, spoke to the general public during a live online "Health Chat" hosted by Chicago Tribune reporter Bruce Jaspen. During the hour-long Web presentation, Ashworth and Jaspen discussed the expanding role of the pharmacist and other retail healthcare professionals, such as nurse practitioners, in today's consumer medical care model.

And don't forget about the relaunch earlier this month of NACDS' ad campaign to lawmakers to educate new members of Congress of the value of community pharmacy and the role the industry could play in health reform. Last week, Walgreens took that message "to the street."

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