Patient care services: What pharmacists do

Today's Perspective

Ten years ago, pharmacy was all atwitter (even without Twitter) about medication therapy management (MTM). Ten years before that, we were implementing pharmaceutical care. For three decades before, it was all about clinical and consultant pharmacy.

All of these types of practice have helped to advance the pharmacist’s role as a patient care provider. Each helped move us from a mercantile dispensing role to one that is both clinical and professional. As recounted by Senior Assistant Editor Diana Yap in this month’s profile of California’s Sen. Ed Hernandez, OD, we now find ourselves being recognized for our progress through changes in state-based provider status and scope-of-practice laws and regulations. A coordinated push for provider status recognition at the federal level is under way.

With this history and these realizations in mind, this month we rebrand Pharmacy Today as the pharmacists’ patient care services magazine. MTM has helped us identify good ideas for articles and provide you with compelling editorial content. Beginning with this issue, we hope to continue that process by focusing the magazine on the wide variety of patient care services that pharmacists provide to our patients each day.

In making this move, we come not to bury MTM, pharmaceutical care, or clinical pharmacy. We recognize that MTM remains a core service within the vast array of pharmacists’ patient care services, and we will continue to profile innovative MTM practices. However, pharmacists can and do provide many other patient care services that improve patients’ health and improve outcomes. Through pharmacists’ patient care services, we simply want to communicate a broad term that  recognizes all of the valuable contributions pharmacists make in health care.

In hospitals, health professionals and patients will still look for the clinical pharmacist. Medicare Part D will mandate MTM services for patients with complex conditions who take multiple medications. Pharmacists will always appreciate the principles of pharmaceutical care and the professional framework provided by those who conceptualized and advocated this way of practicing. Now, pharmacists’ patient care services will comprise all these concepts. When pharmacy asks for provider status in the federal, state, or private arenas, we will ask for recognition of the value of pharmacists’ patient care services. This will be a unifying term, one that patients, payers, and third parties will understand on its face and not something we have to explain.

We begin the shift of our content toward pharmacists’ patient care services by renaming our MTM Profile as simply Profile and, in the Health-System Edition, Many Faces of MTM as Innovators. Throughout the magazine, we are refocusing on pharmacists’ patient care services.

Get ready for a historic push toward pharmacist provider status, and enjoy this great issue of Today!