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Commentary

Community Pharmacy Continuing to Make a Difference in Health Care: The Struggle Continues


September 23, 2019

cawleyAs pharmacists we continue to struggle with trying to demonstrate our value in the health care arena. We continue to publish our evidence in journals focused on the profession of pharmacy. However, I feel that we fail to publish our information or demonstrate any large meaningful outcomes where key opinion leaders would show interest. Despite this, we continue to try to demonstrate every day to our patients that our services are of value.

For most pharmacists that are employed under a chain store or corporate umbrella, it is difficult to deviate from policies or create initiatives because it would go against corporate rules and regulations. Although pharmacists have great ideas and many have pushed the boundaries of practice, their ideas, unfortunately, never gain traction because of upper management decisions. Independent pharmacy owners are the ones that have the ability to push the envelope and deviate from the norm to help take our profession to the next level.

Initiatives like the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) are working with pharmacists to help them get paid for their services. CPESN USA has 46 chapters, including more than 2200 pharmacists, enrolled in the program.  CPESN has worked with companies like Take Charge that assist pharmacists create and operate programs focused on diet and exercise, counseling patients, providing computer program to support the program and include marketing materials on how to charge for the program service. Other programs include nutritional supplementation sales, point-of-care testing for strep throat and hormone replacement and charging a fee for all services. 1

I applaud CPESN for their innovation and dedication to the profession. I believe organizations like this are what we need to implement change. I hope they continue to push the boundaries of pharmaceutical care and are able to provide data on patient outcomes to key opinion leaders, including senators and congressman so laws can be enacted demonstrating pharmacists deserve to be recognized as a health care professional and provider.

Michael J. Cawley, PharmD, RRT, CPFT, FCCM, is a professor of clinical pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences. He has more than 25 years of experience practicing in the areas of medical, surgical, trauma, and burn intensive care as both a critical care clinical pharmacist and registered respiratory therapist.

References

  1. Drug Store News. Independent community pharmacy plays a role in health care. https://www.drugstorenews.com/pharmacy/independent-community-pharmacy-plays-a-vital-role-in-health-care/. Accessed August 20, 2019.
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