By Alpesh Patel
The pharmaceutical industry is one that has existed in the realm of healthcare since the very beginning of medicine. When chemists first introduced medicine to the world, it helped the human race live longer and beat diseases and illnesses mankind could never have thought of surviving. One of the many attributes of a chemist – who is better known as a pharmacist today, is keeping patients adherent to their medication.
A lesser-known fact is that a pharmacist is the most easily accessible healthcare provider in the United States with a Doctorate degree and available at every point in the patient’s recovery to be able to assist with medications, provide advice and knowledge at no additional cost. In most cases, at chain pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, etc. Pharmacists are short-staffed with technicians who usually perform store duties like counting pills and cashing out customers at the register. But unfortunately, they are the most under-utilized healthcare professionals for the knowledge they portray, and typically utilized for these administrative work that can be performed by technicians.
While we all hear about how important it is to keep your health in check, we often overlook the fact that the most important piece of the puzzle is medication adherence. No matter what your age or illness might be – medication adherence is key to helping you get better. Doctors can help diagnose the problem, but if the patient does not take the medication everyday or every month, they won’t get better from those health issues. The majority of healthcare expenses are being spent on hospitalization, re-hospitalization, and emergency visits.
Let’s take a step back and think about why medication adherence is important, and how a pharmacist plays a role in it. The first and foremost step is diagnosis. Doctors find out what is wrong with the patient’s health and diagnose the issue and write a prescription to solve the issue. The second step is the prescription itself, which is the solution that a pharmacist will help the patient with.
While the healthcare industry is growing immensely, the gap between physician consult, pharmacist consult, and prescription dispense is getting larger. Currently, out of 100 prescriptions, only 33 actually even get to the patient. 90% of the reason prescriptions don’t get to the patient is due to cost, convenience, and consultation. The role of a pharmacist is to follow the doctor’s diagnosis instructions, and the second most important role is to educate the patient through consultation about their recovery plan and medication.
Healthcare in the United States is a huge expense to many but educating yourself about the healthcare system will help you beat the monopoly and save major costs!