Pharmacists: Knowledgeable, adaptable, caring

Today's Perspective

Last month, I wrote in this space about the great progress our profession has made in establishing the pharmacist as the member of the health care team who provides patient care that results in optimal medication therapy outcomes. This is a reality for many pharmacists practicing in various health care settings. 

Millions of Americans remain uninsured, and countless others cannot afford copayments their conditions require. Many live in areas where health professionals are few and far between, and the only nearby provider is a pharmacist. While some of these patients may be designated as “medically underserved,” they are not the undeserved—just underserved. Thanks to the knowledge, training, expertise, and caring nature of pharmacists, the medically underserved have a health professional who can help them.

Our education and training include diverse experiences to enable us to provide a wide variety of services, from triaging minor illnesses for appropriate self-care, to nutrition and weight counseling, immunization, disease management, and more. This means that we pharmacists can help fill the void for patients needing care. To maximize the impact to patients and the health care system, we need to look globally at all of the services pharmacists can and do provide, including medication therapy management and other services. The list could go on forever—pharmacists help patients in so many ways beyond the provision of prescribed drugs and the information needed to use medications properly.

As we move forward in the quest for provider status under the Social Security Act, we must remember the significant unmet health needs in this country and how pharmacists’ expertise can contribute to meeting them. One of the reasons pharmacists stay at the top of the most-trusted professions list is that we are out there in the real world where people live. Americans visit pharmacies frequently and for many different reasons. They see us in action. Provider status means providing access and care to patients who may not receive it otherwise. 

Enjoy your February Today!