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Pharmacists Saving Patients and Physicians Money:

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

By: Zoe Schilling

Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, 2022

8/19/2021


When a person mentions the word, “pharmacist,” the first association that may pop into mind is Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc. Pharmacy students just beginning their journey in school may also think there are only two routes: retail or hospital pharmacist. However, with new laws and expanding the scope of practice of a pharmacist, there are endless opportunities for the new pharmacy graduates.


For example, collaborative practice agreements (CPA)s have extended the traditional role of a pharmacist to initiate, monitor, modify, and discontinue drug therapies and provide other clinical services.1 CPAs have been shown to improve health system efficiency and patient outcomes. At present, CPAs allow qualified pharmacists to work within the context of a defined protocol to assume professional responsibility for performing patient assessments, counseling, and referrals; ordering laboratory tests; administering drugs; and selecting, initiating, monitoring, continuing, and adjusting drug regimens. 2


Pharmacists have the potential to play a greater role in the management of chronic illnesses and make considerable savings in healthcare costs. 3 As frontline healthcare professionals, pharmacists are in contact with patients regularly, and are specially trained to reduce disease severity, monitor medication therapy to achieve desired clinical effects, reduce adverse health events, and can make recommendations to patients or prescribers regarding pharmacotherapy where appropriate. 3 Studies have shown that pharmacists in primary care have the skills to manage patients with long-term conditions, and this can result in both clinical and cost benefits for a variety of chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. 3


With healthcare costs rising each year, and increasing number of prescriptions being consumed by the elderly, there is pressure on healthcare organizations to identify and implement cost-control measures. 3 Pharmacists have a major role in lowering costs by critically reviewing the pharmacotherapy of multimorbid elderly patients. The reduction of inappropriately prescribed medicines not only produces savings in the cost of each individual medicine but also reduces the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs) that often contribute to prolonged and expensive hospital admissions. 3


Zoe desires to focus on the PREVENTION of chronic disease states. It is possible for "prediabetic" patients to go back into a "normal" range and never progress to a diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetic patients may manage this diagnosis and go back into a normal range through diet and exercise interventions alone. Talk to Zoe today if you need help avoiding a future diabetes diagnosis. It all starts with a positive mindset!


References:

1.) Lott BE, Anderson EJ, Villa Zapata L, et al. Expanding pharmacists' roles: Pharmacists' perspectives on barriers and facilitators to collaborative practice. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2021;61(2):213-220.e1. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2020.11.024

2.) Pharmacy: Collaborative Practice Agreements to Enable Drug Therapy Management. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/pubs/guides/best-practices/pharmacist-cdtm.htm. Published July 22, 2021. Accessed August 19, 2021.

3.) Dalton K. Byrne S. Role of the pharmacist in reducing healthcare costs: current insights. Integr Pharm Res Pract. 2017;6:37-46. Published 2017 Jan 25. doi:10.2147/IPRP.S108047


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