February 17, 2010

The pharmacy as healthcare partner

Reading this strategy+business article, I learned that drugstores are experimenting with in-store clinics, wellness programs, health screenings, and disease management services. For example, the city of Asheville, North Carolina, has been using local pharmacists to provide free counseling and coaching to diabetes patients, generating substantial savings and health improvement. I discovered that the pharmacy offers 4 significant advantages:

Advantage # 1: Trust
Patients already have more contact with pharmacists than other health-care providers and appear to greatly value their pharmacists’ advice.

Advantage # 2: Access
The pharmacist is highly accessible. In ths U.S., for example, there is a pharmacy within 2.36 miles of any consumer.

Advantage # 3: Skills and services
Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, knowledgeable about a range of medical conditions and capable of delivering some advisory, diagnostic, and treatment services. An increasing number of pharmacies also have a retail clinic on the premises, staffed by a nurse practitioner licensed to perform a range of primary care services and, in some cases, write prescriptions. In the article, I also read that new forms of technology - such as expert systems that provide information about disease and treatments, more portable and affordable diagnostic equipment, and telemedicine - will enable pharmacists to perform a larger number of screenings and consultations in retail clinics more conveniently and at a lower cost than traditional medical facilities can.

Advantage # 4: Cost
Pharmacy-based retail clinics could often treat patients at a lower cost than physicians’ offices could for the same conditions.

For information about other healthcare partners, have a look at this presentation.
Post a Comment