Call to action for all community pharmacists
As I was reading my e-mails one day this past month, I came across a message from Edward Bissler, Vice President of Pharmacy Support at Mirixa Corporation. I assumed the message was a mass e-mailing to all community pharmacies providing medication therapy management (MTM) services for patients who are eligible under the Mirixa platform.
The initial content of the message actually surprised me, as it discussed the appropriate and inappropriate use of consultant pharmacists to help community pharmacies provide and complete MTM-eligible cases. As I continued to read the e-mail, I was impressed with the information it contained.
In his e-mail, Bissler noted the following:
- Community pharmacists have a unique relationship with their patients as trusted health professionals, and because of this relationship, Mirixa expects MTM services to be performed by its members’ local community pharmacy.
- If consultant pharmacists are used, Mirixa lists the acceptable criteria for this to occur. The MTM services need to be provided from the local community pharmacy; the consultant is supervised by a pharmacist employed by the pharmacy; the consultants have access to the pharmacy records; and the consultants can accept or discontinue prescription orders from patients’ treating physicians.
- Mirixa recognizes the value of their network community pharmacies in providing comprehensive medication reviews and adherence counseling to their patients.
I really liked Bissler’s message to community pharmacists. I especially appreciated his ending comment: “Help us prove the value of community pharmacy counseling and expand the opportunity to transform the practice of community pharmacy to include ongoing patient care.” His message was succinct, clear, and positive.
From my perspective—and I have a tendency to view such messages with suspicion and hesitation—Bissler and the Mirixa Corporation hit the nail on the head. Community pharmacists provide a valuable service to their patients by helping them achieve therapeutic outcomes with safe and effective medications. Community pharmacists do this not only with their MTM services but in their everyday encounters with patients.
Call to action
I am writing this column with the hope that it reaches most community pharmacists who are in the trenches providing pharmaceutical services to their patients. This is a call to action to all community pharmacists. For the first time in my 30-year career, there is real talk about the value of pharmacists, and community pharmacists are part of that discussion. Community pharmacists are being recognized for the impact they can have on patient health outcomes, but all of us need to step up our efforts. We have a real opportunity to secure our place as valuable health care team members, but this requires more work, more effort, more documentation, and more of us.
We need to ask ourselves the following questions:
- Am I optimizing my time with each encounter with my patients by identifying and resolving drug therapy problems so that they are achieving their therapeutic goals with safe and effective medications?
- Do I have a collaborative working relationship with other providers so that they recognize my value and seek my input on improving the health outcomes of our mutual patients?
- Am I communicating potential drug therapy problems to prescribers and making clinical recommendations regularly so that my patients are achieving their therapeutic goals?
- Am I documenting my patient care activities so that I can demonstrate this ongoing care to providers, payers, and other stakeholders?
Now’s the time
If we cannot answer yes to any of these questions, then we need to do more. The time is right, and the time is now.
I have always believed in community pharmacy. I left academia more than 9 years ago to become an owner and put my money where my mouth is. It has been a good run so far, and I am a staunch supporter and firm believer of the value that community pharmacists provide to patients.
We have a great opportunity to tell our story and prove our value. Bissler is right when he said that it is time to transform the practice of community pharmacy. It begins with me!