There is a growing need of a pharmacist playing the supporting role of a patient-care provider which is targeted towards medication use and its cost-effective delivery i.e. medication therapy management (MTM). This comprises of medication management, educating the patient and preventive care, along with building an understanding of medication. Clinical pharmacists work collectively with nurses and physicians to evaluate the medication and administer drug treatment.
So how are today’s pharmacists playing an important role in patient care services?
Mostly so, pharmacists are responsible for supervising the best and beneficial MTM substantiating the medicine and aid in improving overall patient care.
1. Medication management: People with chronic illnesses need constant medical care. Pharmacists help them in adhering to the medication at regular intervals while describing their clinical outcomes.
2. Counseling: Pharmacists provide education and behavioral counseling to patients with chronic illnesses. These have therapeutic effects on the patient which has shown to improve results.
3. Preventive care: Pharmacists usually have access to the community and probably recognize an illness in the community sooner than others. This can be of help to accountable care organizations (ACOs). Pharmacists aid in identifying candidates for vaccine and simultaneously provide the immunization services.
4. Medication reconciliation: Pharmacists help patients in clearing the doubts and discrepancies along with explanation of benefits of the medication. This is especially done for patients who have a chance of relapse.
5. Shared care models: Physicians and pharmacists work as a team to improve the overall health (results) in all patients. They together provide access to medication, supplementary therapies and its management.
At many places, pharmacists are involved in patient care every day. They are responsible for product/drug choice, its dose and the route of its administration, along with its scheduling and safety, continuous monitoring and avoidance of errors, catering to therapeutic outcomes, and careful observation of any adverse drug effects. They also keep track of developing medicines before their administration to a patient and clarify all vague orders; along with leaving suggestions for nurses and physicians to avoid confusions about the medication. They also keep a list and administer all medications that the patient might be using at home (as some might be required to be continued). Upon visiting /hospitalization, the pharmacist educates the patient on all the new medications being started for the patient along with complete instructions on the medications that need to be taken after discharge (post-hospitalization).
With ACOs and PCMHs (patient-centered medical homes) slowly gaining prominence, pharmacists are being looked at as those who will be able to deliver effective patient care. It is also being corroborated that reimbursement policies must be aligned towards giving incentives to generously utilize pharmacists for providing the best healthcare quality to patients.