During the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacists were recognized as vital health care professionals who adapted their practices to meet the needs of society. Pharmacists remained on the frontlines to combat COVID by administering tests and vaccines, as well as providing disease education to help the public navigate this healthcare crisis.
Because their contributions were so successful, over 178 bills have been proposed across 36 states to permanently expand pharmacists’ scope of practice.1 Many of these bills are aimed at creating legislation that allows pharmacists to test, diagnose and prescribe medications for common illnesses such as the flu and strep throat, as well as administer vaccines.
However, pharmacists had been tackling many important aspects of patient health even prior to the onset of COVID. While their role is most often associated with dispensing medications, pharmacists help patients with other clinical services including disease state and prescription drug counseling, and identifying lower costs drug alternatives so individuals can afford therapy. Due to their deep knowledge surrounding medicine, taking the pharmacist’s expertise to the next level makes perfect sense.
Nevertheless, this topic doesn’t come without controversy. The AMA claims that “covering services provided by a pharmacist would lead to fragmented care and worsen the overall quality of patient care.”1 Additionally, some physicians feel pharmacists are infringing on their territory. But with the right technology, broadening the pharmacist’s role can provide greater visibility into patient progress, reduce treatment gaps, and create balanced oversight across the entire care continuum.
While the market is making a push to increase the scope of pharmacist’s role, Perigon Health 360 has already integrated the pharmacist into their patient-centric, digital health model. The company’s digital health platform, Medesto, is a remote patient and medication management tool that increases patient adherence and encourages behavior modification. And unlike any other digital tool, Medesto is complimented by pharmacy services to improve health outcomes and enhance the overall patient experience.
By leveraging Medesto’s comprehensive capabilities, pharmacists have shifted from a transactional role at the point of service, to delivering high-touch patient care throughout the patient’s health journey. Medesto’s technological infrastructure gives pharmacists the framework necessary to closely monitor medication adherence, health statistics and outcomes using data collected by medication dispensing and physiological devices. And rather than create a turf war with physicians, Medesto enables pharmacists to collaborate directly with providers through real-time, streamlined communication to ensure the patient’s designated treatment plan is optimized. Through this joint effort of cohesive and ongoing care, patients have the best chance at leading healthy, fulfilling lives.
So as the pharmacist’s role evolves and expands, Perigon Health 360 will continue to lead the way by fostering collaborative care models that integrate innovative digital tools and pharmacy expertise to advance the future of patient care.
- https://www.dhinsights.org; Expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice improves health outcomes.