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Is Your Pharmacist Working at the Top of Their License?

Are Pharmacists Our Next-Gen Primary Care Physicians? Pharmacy Automation Can Help Get Them There

January 8, 2021 / Grace Vanier, Director, Product Development

Pharmacists are among the top highly skilled and respected professionals in the US. But in retail environments, pharmacists spend the majority of their time counting pills or filing forms. Recent data shows that pharmacists are currently positioned as trusted essential workers, acting as ideal point of care providers, and interacting at least eight times more with patients than a primary care physician (PCP). What if there was a way to give pharmacists more time to focus on the most important part of your retail pharmacy: the patients?

Essential Business. Trusted Adviser.

2020 illustrated something Americans already knew: Pharmacists, and by extension pharmacies, are part of our essential healthcare workforce. Year after year, Americans rank pharmacists among the top 5 honest and ethical professions in recent Gallup polls.

  • 64% of Americans rate pharmacists as having high levels of honesty and ethics
  • Only 9% say car salespeople have high levels of these virtues 

Pharmacists are part of our essential healthcare workforce. Patients often engage a pharmacist before going to a PCP possibly because they’re more accessible (Gebhart, 2019). A few years ago, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) found that roughly 90 percent of the American people live within five miles of one of NACDS member company stores, making pharmacists the most accessible health care professionals in the country. It seems that patients often engage a pharmacist before going to a PCP, possibly because they’re more accessible. This high level of trust is especially apparent when you look at the role pharmacists play in patient care teams.

Point of Care and Beyond

Pharmacists across the country are being increasingly empowered to act as both administrator and educator of medications, vaccines, and more. Here’s a short list of the ways pharmacists already engage as acritical part of a patient’s care team.

  • Medication therapy management – Possibly the most important function overall.
  • Management of chronic conditions – This includes care for people living with conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
  • Point of care testing – This can include acute infection testing (think flu shots and strep tests), chronic disease screening, and chronic disease monitoring. It allows for the screening and treatment process to be completed during a single encounter, thereby improving access to care, counseling, and patient outcome.
  • Limited prescription – Pharmacists must adhere to the legislation and regulations of their geographical region.

Pharmacists spend a lot time on patient interactions, either in-person or via telemedicine. In terms of the current pandemic and even post-pandemic, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to convince people to get vaccinated, and to administer the vaccine.

Pharmacists in the Future

At BH QuickCollect™ Solutions, powered by Bell and Howell, we believe that pharmacists will become the next generation of PCPs. Maybe someday soon, pharmacies will be work in a fully virtual capacity, using technology to focus on providing increased levels of care. Which is the reason we’re all here. Perhaps, we’ll start seeing more pharmacists in:

  • Digital telehealth support
  • Community engagement activities
  • More complex care teams

Imagine what their customer experience would be like if all pharmacists could focus more on the patients and less on mundane tasks like pill counting. Today’s customers are demanding more attention and more flexibility. The question is: how do you support both your pharmacists and customers’ needs? We can help with that.


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