June 15, 2016
It’s no secret that pharmacists are playing a pivotal role in their patients’ health care. But the recently released 2016 edition of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Pharmacists’ Patient Care Services Digest, a publication that tracks the trends and delivery of pharmacist-provided services, is presenting the data to back that up.
The Digest examines how pharmacists influence access to care, and specifically looks at disease state education, immunizations, medication adherence services, disease state management, care transition services, health and wellness screenings, nutrition and weight loss counseling, and smoking cessation.
“The publication provides important information to stakeholders inside and outside the pharmacy profession as we continue to expand pharmacists’ roles as health care practitioners to members of the communities they serve,” said Ryan M. Burke, Pharm.D., associate director, practice initiatives at APhA.
The Digest was originally focused on medication therapy management (MTM), but expanded in 2014 to include a broader range of patient care services. “This expanded scope helps to highlight the diverse nature of the important health care services that pharmacists can provide,” Burke said.
The Digest also offers additional insight into the transforming profession. “The Digest is packed with insights into how the pharmacy profession is evolving, including the types of services being provided, how the services are being marketed to consumers, how pharmacists are being reimbursed for such services and more,” Burke said.
While the Digest doesn’t specifically examine independent community pharmacy, it provides a perspective to help independent pharmacists identify opportunities to expand the types of patient care services they offer. “We recognize that significant innovation has and will likely continue to occur within community-based independent and regional chain pharmacies,” Burke said.
This year’s Digest noted an increase in legislative action across the nation to support expanding consumer access to, and coverage for, pharmacists’ patient care services at the national and state levels. “Confidence in pharmacists as care providers continues to grow,” Burke said.
The data also indicates that pharmacists are paying attention to shifting industry trends. “Pharmacists are expanding capacity for improving quality metrics in response to pay-for-performance incentive structures and value-based payment systems,” Burke said.
As the profession advances, it will be interesting to see increased diversity in the types of services provided, Burke said.
“Recognition and coverage of pharmacist-provided patient care services should create more incentives for pharmacists, pharmacy owners, and pharmacist employers to expand the services offered and integrate these services into evolving care delivery models,” he said.
The Digest is available to download for free at pharmacist.com/digest.
A few findings stood out in this year’s American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Pharmacists’ Patient Care Services Digest.
88 – Percent of pharmacists surveyed reported offering medication management services
84 – Percent of pharmacists surveyed reported providing disease state education
46 – Percent of pharmacists surveyed reported providing services to patients in medically underserved areas