How can your local pharmacy help improve patient outcomes and reduce cost of care? A PharmD explains these 5 "hidden gem" services.
Pharmacies are traditionally thought of as places to “pick up your medications,” and more recently places to receive vaccines. While these are still the bread-and-butter services offered by the community pharmacy, there are a variety of other ways that local pharmacists can help area physicians improve patient outcomes and reduce cost. Best of all, these won’t cost your practice anything. Scroll through the slideshow above to see my top 5 “hidden gems” of community pharmacy.
Medication Synchronization. Imagine what med synch will do for A1c control, for example, if your diabetes patients are 90% adherent! When you prescribe a new medication or change a dose, we will initially fill an odd number of pills so that the refill will line up with the patient’s pharmacy appointment date. This is my top recommendation of the pharmacy services you can recommend to patients that will improve outcomes.
Medication History. We can let you know if a patient’s cardiologist switched their heart medications recently, and we can also let you know if they actually took the Januvia you prescribed. If they did not, we can help figure out why-maybe there were insurance problems (maybe prior authorization was required or the payer preferred Tradjenta, for example).
Travel Health. The pharmacist will then go over the medications and travel precautions and administer the vaccines. (Certain Albertsons-Safeway stores even offer the yellow fever vaccine with the certificate necessary to enter the countries requiring that vaccination.) The pharmacy automatically sends a copy of the vaccine administration records to the prescriber(s) the patient indicates.
Chronic Care Management. With regular communication, we can work together so that in between physician office visits we can reinforce what you would like the patient to do - take their medication, exercise regularly, check their blood pressure (eg, have them bring a blood pressure monitor and we will check it for them), or eat a healthy diet (check with them every month to ask how it’s going, offer suggestions). The regular contact with your patients can improve outcomes and ultimately reduce overall cost of care. Some pharmacists have been offering this service for just the revenue you bill for, meaning there is no cost to your practice.
Pharmacogenomics. The testing can be very useful, for example, if a patient has been switched for poor response several times to different medications in a single class-the response may be related to their genetics. An example of successful pharmacogenomics testing is the identification of CYP2C19 LOF alleles that predict patient response to clopidogrel.6
References:Â 1. Prescribe Wellness unveils med sync certification. Chain Drug Review. https://www.chaindrugreview.com/prescribewellness-unveils-med-sync-certification/. Published April 14, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2018.Â 2. Travel medicine consult. Albertsons-Safeway. Accessed online July 7, 2018 at https://www.sgtravelmed.com/Safeway/.Â 3. American Pharmacists Association. Chronic care management. https://www.pharmacist.com/chronic-care-management. Accessed July 7, 2018.4. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Chronic care management services. https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/ChronicCareManagement.pdf. Published December 2016. Accessed July 7, 2018.5. Pharmacogenetics in the community pharmacy. Drug Topics. http://www.drugtopics.com/drug-topics/news/pharmacogenetics-community-pharmacy. Published March 16, 2017. Accessed July 7, 2018.Â 6. Pereira NL, Geske JB, Mayr M, et al. Pharmacogenetics of clopidogrel: an unresolved issue. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2016;9:185-188.