The important role of Total Health Pharmacists
How can Total Health Pharmacists help improve the current US health care system?
By Ryan Bouchard, PharmD
A few days ago I was checking the CDC website for the latest vaccine recommendations and stumbled upon an article that truly hit home; “How Pharmacists Can Improve Our Nation’s Health.” This article and CDC grand rounds presentation touches on several important ideals that Total Health Pharmacists were founded on. The article and accompanying video present some solid evidence that expanding pharmacist roles in health care can increase quality of care, improve patient control of disorders and illnesses, and reduce healthcare costs. Total Health Pharmacists is committed to expanding the role of pharmacists, and placing the individual at the center of care by giving them the tools necessary to achieve Total Health. How can Total Health Pharmacists help improve the current US health care system?
Increase Quality of Care
There are numerous studies over several decades to support the expanded role of pharmacists to improving therapeutic outcomes. Total Health Pharmacists has developed a patient centered portal that empowers patients to take an active role in their own wellness and total health. The focus is to give an individual an inside look at what may be happening inside their bodies, but then take it a step further to give them the support necessary to do something about it. We are confident that individuals enrolled in our services will have reduced hospital admissions, have reductions in unnecessary or inappropriate medications, and reduced emergency room visits. Individuals that decide to follow through on their total health will be given access to some of the best providers of wellness services the industry has to offer.
Improve Patient Control of Disorders and Illnesses
Historically, health care providers do an adequate job explaining the ‘how’ to improving a patient’s health. Patients that visited us in our retail pharmacies would often say things like, “My doctor told me to take this pill to help my diabetes.” We would often follow up with questions like, “Can you tell me how this medication will help your diabetes?” We were often met with blank stares from the other side of the counter. The problem with this is that patients are often not told the ‘why’ behind their treatment therapy. How can we truly expect individuals to take on an active role in their own health if they don’t have a firm understanding of why they should do something? This would explain why 20-30% of all prescriptions written are never filled, and 50% of all prescribed medications are not taken as directed. At Total Health Pharmacists we take the time to assess the patient’s sense making of their disease states, and relate this back to why they may have been prescribed certain medications. When a patient truly understands why they are much better positioned to remain adherent on appropriate medication therapy, and take control of their own disorders and illnesses.
Reduce Healthcare Costs
The CDC grand round presentation cites studies that pharmacist involvement can result in an ROI as high as $12:$1, with an average of $3:$1 to $5:$1. There are not many other health care interventions that will result in this high of an ROI. It is estimated that medication related problems cost the US health care system $100 billion to $289 billion per year! With expanded pharmacist involvement these numbers would surely be decreased significantly. Total Health Pharmacists are well poised to help with medication related problems with our medication check-up service. During one of our sessions we will thoroughly go through each prescription medication, over the counter medication, and any supplements the patient may be taking. We assess for appropriateness, and screen for potential interactions with all therapies a patient may be on. With patients with several disease states and medications we often find potential severe life threatening interactions. We have been able to successfully step in and serve as the bridge between patients and prescribers and avoid these medication related problems. For patients wanting to couple their medication treatment with lifestyle modifications we also offer health coaching and nutrition consults. With this multi-faceted approach Total Health Pharmacists is better positioned to reduce healthcare costs versus our competition.
Reduce Health Care Costs
This is truly an exciting time for the profession of pharmacy, as we are gaining traction in the recognition of need for expanding our roles. For the Center of Disease Control (CDC) to devote an entire hour long grand rounds presentation to how a pharmacist can improve our nation’s health is unprecedented! I invite everyone to check out the article and presentation at the link below. We are truly excited to be at the forefront of expanding the role of pharmacists, and look forward to working with so many of you to improve our nation’s health!
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- CDC’s October Public Health Grand Rounds webinar, How Pharmacists Can Improve our Nation’s Health, http://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/archives/2014/oct2014.htm
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