In May, I attended the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) Annual Meeting and Innovation Forum in Arlington, VA. I found the meeting very informative, and was excited to see innovative programs in healthcare—especially the pharmacy initiatives. The goal of many of these initiatives is to improve the quality of healthcare, and lower overall costs.
We have all seen the positive surveys identifying pharmacists among the most trusted professionals, and as the most accessible healthcare provider. For most people, the community pharmacy is their most frequently visited healthcare location, and to reinforce these high standards, pharmacists seek to advance the pharmacy profession, increase our visibility, and expand the breadth of service offerings we provide.
Patients often select their pharmacy based on its close proximity to their home or place of work, whether their insurance is accepted (eg, costs), its appearance, and whether their customer service is satisfactory. Community pharmacists focus on dispensing prescriptions accurately, following applicable laws, and providing excellent customer service. These axioms were taught to me in pharmacy school by Professor Amadio nearly 40 years ago, and largely remain true today. In a recent announcement, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) defines specialty pharmacy and specialty medications in a way that could impact these axioms in the future.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a 658-page final rule, Medicaid Program; Covered Outpatient Drugs (CMS-2345-FC; ie, the “final average manufacturer price [AMP] rule”), which takes effect on April 1, 2016.
Although, all too often, we only hear about the high prices of prescription products, I am excited about the degree of innovation and number of new drug approvals in our country.
"Factors affecting the survey ratings could include the establishment’s physical environment, friendliness of employees, wait times, and perceived value received.”
"When interacting with our patients, it is essential to find out ‘what is relevant’ to them and their lives." I recently taught a class of P4 students at a local pharmacy school about prescription reimbursement in our healthcare system. After class, I had lunch with 2 professors, and we discussed the challenges associated with creating a curriculum with all the new information on disease states, mechanisms of drug action, and subatomic particles. It often comes down to a decision about the amount of time spent on basic sciences compared with clinical disease state areas. They indicated that the curriculum committee needs to determine “what is relevant.”
"Inside Patient Care is an open forum for primary care providers to share trends in the industry and achieve professional success.” Retail pharmacy has traditionally focused on the prescription-dispensing activity as its core concentration and reason for existence. This dates back over 50 years to when druggists compounded many prescriptions, and it was a cash-based business with no third-party insurance plans.
"Today’s pharmacy environment is complex, and there are a variety of important metrics to ensure the successful, profitable operation of a retail pharmacy.”
As healthcare practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners working in retail clinics, we need to continually review information available about new products, treatment guidelines, and product usage and availability. Beyond these clinical, pharmacologic, and supply components, we also need to keep up-to-date with articles trending in the lay press and on the Internet. The cover story in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports, “The Rise of Superbugs,” focuses on antibiotic resistance, and what can be done before it is too late. It is a good read, and will help healthcare practitioners gain a better perspective on consumer awareness of antibiotic resistance. It is also timely because our government announced a 5-year plan to stem antibiotic resistance this past March.
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