Patient access, lower costs, accountability and collaborative care: those are the watchwords that define the nation’s overextended web of health care in 2015. And community pharmacy — the true face of neighborhood health care — offers some timely solutions to all of them.
Connecting all the dots in health care. That’s the ultimate goal in the health industry’s migration to an electronic platform, where doctors and other prescribers write prescriptions digitally and send them — directly and immediately — to a patient’s pharmacy for dispensing.
Community pharmacy leaders routinely host pharmacy tours in their stores throughout the year to help demonstrate firsthand to members of Congress and policy-makers the important interaction pharmacists provide patients every day, and the importance of supporting measures that help promote pharmacy to help expand patient access, improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.
Pharmacies and clinics on wheels? That’s the premise behind the growing effort by retail pharmacy and clinic providers to expand their reach via specially equipped buses and other vehicles that provide on-the-spot, temporary access to needed health services in hundreds of communities nationwide.
Beset by rising costs, a fast-growing elderly population and a critical shortage of primary care doctors, the nation’s health system is desperately in search of ways to lower costs through disease prevention and better access to quality care.
Six years. That’s how long it usually takes for any candidate to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, or PharmD, now required to practice as a licensed pharmacist. In addition, PharmD graduates also must pass state licensure examinations required by state boards of pharmacy in all 50 states.
With health reform and the shift to accountable, evidence-based medicine slowly but surely transforming the nation’s massive but troubled healthcare system, new moves are afoot in both the legislative and executive branches of government that will further elevate the role played by the nation’s 300,000 pharmacists.