PHARMACY

Walgreens to deliver immunization data over Surescripts network

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Immunization records will be sent directly from Walgreens and Duane Reade stores to primary care providers over Surescripts’ electronic prescribing network, Walgreens said Monday.

Walgreens announced that beginning this month, the use of Surescripts’ Clinical Interoperability services to deliver immunization data from its 7,800 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores and 350 Take Care Clinics to patients’ primary care providers would improve coordination of care. The company plans to share immunization data with local and state public health agencies and Take Care Clinic patient summaries with primary care providers starting this later this year.

"Currently, Walgreens pharmacists and Take Care Health [System] providers can submit these patient records to physicians by fax or traditional mail," Walgreens SVP health and wellness services and solutions Jeffrey Kang said. "By using Surescripts’ network to provide this important information electronically, we can improve the care that patients receive by making it easier for providers to compile more complete medical histories for their patients. We know how difficult it is for patients to remember which immunizations they’ve had and when. This will help physicians have a more thorough healthcare conversation with their patients."

Walgreens said it had administered more than 5.5 million flu vaccines at stores and clinics in the 2011-2012 flu season. For those who opt-in to the new service, Surescripts will use a standard format to capture immunization details and send the record to primary care providers via fax, mail or electronically, and physicians using a Surescripts-certified electronic health record will have the option of receiving records via the Surescripts Clinical Interoperability Network.

"Pharmacies continue to lead by example in their efforts to connect care and enable healthcare providers to share and access clinical information when and where it is needed," Surescripts president and CEO Harry Totonis said. "Using their connection to the Surescripts network, Walgreens pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will improve the coordination of care by sharing immunization records and patient summaries with patients’ primary care providers."

 


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PHARMACY

Watson starts phase-3 trial of Esmya

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals has started a late-stage trial of a drug made to treat benign tumors of the uterus, the company said Monday.

Watson announced the initiation of a phase-3 trial of Esmya (ulitristal acetate) in women who have anemia due to uterine leimyomas, also known as uterine fibroids, which causes benign solid tumors that can lead to excessive menstrual bleeding, anemia and pain and may require surgery. Watson is developing the drug under a licensing agreement with Gedeon Richter.

"Initiation of the U.S. pivotal trial is underway on schedule, and we are hopeful that this phase 3 study will demonstrate improvement on pre-surgical hemoglobin concentrations, an expoint indicating that heavy bleeding and anemia have been alleviated," Watson EVP global brands Fred Wilkinson said. "Esmya, if approved, may be an important medicine for women whose fibroid-symptom severity often leads to excessive bleeding and related pain."


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PHARMACY

Solid job outlook for pharmacists

BY Jim Frederick

What factor, above all others, made you choose a career as a pharmacist?

Whatever the reason, if you’re enrolled in pharmacy school or are recently graduated, congratulations. You picked a good time to become a pharmacist.

In late February, U.S. News & World Report ranked the profession of pharmacy among the nation’s top three career choices on its “Best Jobs of 2012” list, both for its solid job prospects and its high starting salaries. The employment outlook is golden. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, another 69,700 jobs for pharmacists will open up between 2010 and 2020.

Among the powerful trends driving that need for more professionals, are “increases in average life span and the increased incidence of chronic diseases; the increased complexity, number, and sophistication of medications and related products and devices; increased emphasis on primary and preventive health services, home health care and long-term care; and concerns about improving patients’ access to health care, controlling its cost and assuring its quality,” the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy said.

Bottom line, said AACP, is that “pharmacists will play an important part in the future of health care.”
Pharmacy also ranks among the top jobs in starting salaries. Once you’ve earned your PharmD and passed your state license exam, the financial rewards can come quickly. The median hourly wage for the nation’s more than 268,000 practicing pharmacists was $53.64 in mid-2010, the Labor Department reported.

That equals a median annual salary of $111,570, ranging from a low of $82,090 for the bottom 10 percent of wage earners to a high of $138,620 for the top 10 percent. Retail pharmacists tend to earn slightly more working for drug stores than they do at a hospital or supermarket dispensary, but pay is generally good across the board. Median annual income ranges from more than $106,000 up to nearly $113,000, according to federal statistics.

All well and good, but let’s not sugarcoat the challenges. Most pharmacists spend long hours on their feet. They deal with a thicket of health and patient-privacy regulations, and must navigate sometimes-thorny reimbursement issues with public and private-plan payers.

Retail pharmacists must also juggle the sometimes-competing demands of a profit-driven business — which can bring the pressure of filling hundreds of scripts a day as quickly and efficiently as possible — with critical patient-safety and counseling issues. And the growth of medication therapy management and other patient-care initiatives is putting new demands on their time even as prescription volumes grow in the face of an aging population and a health reform law that will soon add millions more patients to the Medicaid rolls.

We’d love to hear from you about what it is that made you choose to become a pharmacist. Was it the high starting salary? The intangible rewards that come with helping people toward healthier, more active lives? The respect and status that come with being a health professional? The alignment of the job skills required of a pharmacist with your own interests? A combination of all of the above? Please share your thoughts about the challenges and rewards of pharmacy by commenting below, and here’s hoping your career is a rewarding and satisfying one.

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H.SMITH says:
May-30-2013 08:47 am

I guess health care jobs are in high demand these days, I also heard that nursing jobs are also demanded. I was lucky to choose a health care career, it's very rewarding and it looks like jobs aren't scarce either!

T.FALLEN says:
Sep-03-2012 03:20 am

...another 69,700 jobs for pharmacists will open up between 2010 and 2020 . I was going to do a lengthy reply to this statement, but I have decided to take the easy way out and use COMMON SENSE approach. We are going to do a little math. Let's round it up to 70,000 over 10 years. That adds up to 7000/year. (# of pharmacy graduates /year before doubling the # of schools :~7250 +&- 250). Estimated # of graduates by 2014, >= ~14,000 +&- 500. Let's take 14,000 and divide it by two 14,000/2=7,000. Also, ...said AACP, is that “pharmacists will play an important part in the future of health care.” Is that going to translate into another 7,000 jobs for surplus pharmacist graduating each year?

R.Suerte says:
Aug-13-2012 12:13 pm

Unfortunately,the sorry facts are simple: there are NO JOBS! If you want proof, just do a search for pharmacist jobs in, for example, New York, NY MONSTER.com lists 10 pharmacist positions in New York, NY, which is an area with a population of close to 12 million people. jobsearch.monster.com/search/Pharmacist_5?where=New-York__2C-NY So, think you will get a job? Good luck!

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