The role of pharmacies in preventative healthcare

A push for preventative healthcare not only promotes better clinical outcomes but also mitigates the high cost of treating chronic conditions or injuries in their later stages. By encouraging patients to live healthier lives and to be more proactive about any sicknesses or illness, it may be possible to make healthcare a more affordable and efficient enterprise. Leveraging the help of local pharmacies is critical for this goal.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a 24-hour pharmacy has the capacity to do more than fill prescriptions or give simple advice. A community pharmacist is increasingly an integral component of treating chronic disease and building positive relationships between providers and patients.

New legislation
Bloomberg reported that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law in 2010 helped pave the way for expanding the role of pharmacies in preventative care.  Accountable Care Organizations are one of the principal mechanisms behind the pursuit of more affordable, value-based healthcare services, and a neighborhood 24-hour pharmacy can play a critical role in achieving this mission.

The neighborhood pharmacist is an essential ally for providers looking to promote preventative healthcare.The neighborhood pharmacist is an essential ally for providers looking to promote preventative healthcare.

The implementation of ACOs was an effort to rein in costs and risk while increasing the level of coordination and tracking among healthcare professionals. As such, pharmacists have seen an increased role in the responsibility for monitoring and advancing patient outcomes. Pharmacists found that this includes proving the value and viability of certain drugs or treatment plans.

A friendly face
Not only is a 24-hour pharmacy helpful in creating new efficiencies for the operational success of healthcare endeavors, but these institutions also make getting treatment easier and more friendly. Preventative healthcare is contingent on working with patients to promote understanding, and the ability to go to a neighborhood pharmacy to receive advice and guidance can be a significantly easier prospect than scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician.

A pharmacist is an important ally for someone seeking care, and an essential community outreach tool for providers wishing to impart best practices and understanding among patients. Increasingly pharmacies offer more, and more advanced services. These include stations for checking blood pressure and other vitals, accessing an EHR to make a more informed decision about a prescription or over-the-counter drug or even using a telemedicine station to quickly coordinate with a doctor over a larger concern or on-going issue. At the heart of these offerings is the pharmacist.

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