The World Speaks: Provider status could strengthen the industry
When I think about the state of pharmacy, I inevitably begin to think about the state of pharmacists. This group of medical professionals joined a field that would allow them to have a direct impact on the care of their patients, to have a level of autonomy to run their practice, and to be on the cutting edge of novel therapies. While all of this remains true, I believe that today’s pharmacists want more, more access to increase the scope of impact on their patients; more autonomy to run a flexible, fleet practice that can quickly respond to change; and more educational opportunities to be a leading voice for new and emerging treatments.
Pharmacy is the sum of its professionals. The long-term success of one depends on the other. Both are at their best when they mutually embrace. Pharmacists should accept a greater measure of responsibility and continue to accept the demands of medical professionals, as well as expand on what it means to provide pharmaceutical care. Pharmacies should nurture the things needed to meet these demands: educational opportunities, increased pharmacist input on business decisions, and greater efforts to create a medical network, both intraprofessional and interprofessional.
One exciting area where pharmacy can take steps into the future: provider status. It’s been long established that increased access to health care increases the likelihood that a person seeks it out. By granting pharmacists provider status, even in a limited capacity, millions would be more likely to seek care, leading to improved outcomes and an additional way to ease a straining U.S. healthcare system. Payers, as well as state and local governments, should be open to new ideas about how pharmacists can serve as providers. This is a two-way street. Pharmacists cannot solely rely on their education or the status of their doctorate. We must prove that we’re capable of delivering a higher level of care. Novel pharmacy tools like those developed at ScriptPro focus on advanced clinical services. While pharmacists accept a higher duty, new tools can help deliver care and demonstrate their impact.
Strong pharmacists make a strong industry. While the state of pharmacy is solid, pharmacists can continue to strengthen it through the advancement of their tools, the scope of their responsibilities, and the continued establishment of their place within the medical community.
Chris Fitzmaurice, director of industry data resources at ScriptPro.
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