April 6, 2016
The way patients receive care is changing drastically, and pharmacists are at the forefront.
According to the 2016 edition of the APhA Pharmacists’ Patient Care Services Digest produced by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), 83 percent of pharmacies surveyed reported that they, or their organization, provide patient care services beyond patient counseling associated with the dispensing of prescriptions.
Patient care services are becoming an expected offering at independent community pharmacies. They’re an important part of providing your patients with well-rounded care and expanding your pharmacy’s revenue streams.
Here’s a look at the most popular patient care services, according to APhA’s report. Are your pharmacy’s patient care offerings keeping up?
According to the report, 88 percent of surveyed pharmacies offer patient care services that help patients manage their medication.
Recent changes have pushed this patient care service to become one of the most-commonly provided services. Not only does the Medicare Modernization Act require Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to include Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services delivered by a qualified health care professional, such as a pharmacist, but the completion rate of Comprehensive Medication Reviews (CMRs) within the MTM program is also the latest metric added to Star Ratings.
Star Ratings are the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System, which is designed to help consumers compare Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD) based on factors of quality, cost and coverage. Offering MTM services can potentially improve your pharmacy’s Star Ratings.
If your pharmacy needs help measuring the quality of medication use, consider using EQuIPP™. EQuIPP is a performance information management platform that makes unbiased quality-related data available to health plans and community pharmacy organizations, which can make managing patients’ medication simpler.
Your pharmacy services administration organization (PSAO) may already offer EQuIPP as part of its services. For example, TriNet Third Party Network by PBA Health, a pharmacy services administration organization (PSAO) that provides third party services, partners with EQuIPP and helps its member pharmacies find ways to improve their Star Ratings.
Disease state education was the second most commonly offered patient care service, with 84 percent of pharmacies offering it, according to the report. And, 58 percent of pharmacies offering disease state management services.
To start offering disease state education and management services in your pharmacy, consider partnering with a company that offers tools and support to improve outcomes in patients with chronic conditions, while also diversifying revenue streams.
Creative Pharmacist, a clinical pharmacy solutions company, provides the resources and tools to help pharmacies educate patients and improve outcomes for patients with common chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, COPD, asthma and more. The solutions enable your pharmacy to bill for the patient care services you provide, so you can diversify your revenue streams while providing in-demand services.
Vaccines and immunizations were offered by 63 percent of pharmacies surveyed, according to the report, making these profitable services among the most popular patient care services.
Since 2009, all 50 states have allowed pharmacists to administer vaccines and immunizations in some form. During the 2012-2013 flu season, 18.4 percent of vaccinated adults got their flu shot at a pharmacy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Take advantage of this growing trend in your pharmacy by starting a flu vaccination program, or by offering shingles vaccines. And, don’t forget to promote your vaccination and immunization services to your patients.
If you’re not among the 60 percent of pharmacies that already offer medication adherence services, now is the time to start.
Medication adherence services have numerous benefits for your patients and your pharmacy. When patients take their medication as prescribed, they’re more likely to experience positive health outcomes. And, since three of the five Star Ratings’ metrics are directly tied to medication adherence, when patients’ adherence and outcomes improve, your pharmacy’s Star Ratings will likely improve, too.
For help implementing a medication adherence service, consider adopting Simplify My Meds®, a medication synchronization program from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). This service can help you address some of the common causes of poor adherence, including failing to refill and forgetfulness, by synchronizing all of a patient’s medication refills to a single pick up date each month.
Thirty-four percent of pharmacies surveyed offered smoking cessation services to help patients quit smoking.
Of adult smokers, 69 percent want to stop smoking and 43 percent have made an attempt to quit in the past year, according to the CDC. Your pharmacy can help by starting a smoking cessation program with these seven simple steps. You can also boost your pharmacy’s revenue by offering patients who are trying to quit supplementary smoking cessation products from your front end, such as nicotine gum, lozenges and patches.
If you don’t have the time to design a smoking cessation program from scratch, consider partnering with Creative Pharmacist and adopting its smoking cessation program. Or, use the resources designed by the CDC specifically for pharmacists. Its website includes handouts for patients, posters you can download and hang in your pharmacy, frequently asked questions for health care providers, a video on how to conduct a tobacco intervention and additional resources you can refer patients to.
If you’re thinking about starting a new pharmacy service, ask yourself these seven questions before you invest your time and resources.