Why Community Pharmacists are an Important and Evolving Role in Healthcare

Many professional healthcare roles are changing along with the healthcare landscape, and the role of community pharmacists is definitely one to give some attention to. At the American Pharmacist Association (APhA) Conference SurroundHealth recently attended, we saw a strong interest from the pharmacists in SurroundHealth and the patient education focused content we provide. It became obvious through speaking with many of the attendees, that historically pharmacists haven’t been given as much consideration in healthcare as other professions. Our Community Director, Dominika Murphy who represented SurroundHealth at the conference said,

“It was eye-opening to speak with so many pharmacists and hear their frustrations around not being recognized as a provider, and not having the ability to get reimbursement from insurance companies the way many other providers do. Especially since in many instances they have more frequent contact with patients than some other providers, and with medication adherence being such a huge problem in the US. It was evident how energized they were with the opportunities that healthcare reform will bring to this profession. “

Their Changing Role

A recent SurroundHealth article contributed by member Ijeoma Chimezie, PharmD, discussed the vital role of community pharmacists and how their roles are changing to encompass patient education. Chimezie mentions that the traditional role of pharmacists in primarily distributive and dispensive roles is changing and that she should be identified as “public health advocates.” Chimezie also stressed that “Community pharmacists play an integral role in addressing the unmet public health needs, through their knowledge, accessibility and ability to disseminate healthy lifestyle resources to the general public.” It’s important to recognize that as a patient-facing professional, community pharmacists have great insights into best practices for patient care and communication.

Community Pharmacists and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Another push for pharmacists to become educators comes from the Affordable Care Act, as they will be actively working to optimize medication adherence and reduce health costs. Specific pharmacists delivered services mentioned in the article were medication therapy management (MTM) and medication reconciliation. These services are set to enhance medication adherence and ensure better transition care between providers.

For more articles from SurroundHealth related to the changing role of community pharmacists, check out:

 Pharmacy and Public Health: what comes to mind?

ACA and MTM: Changing Community Pharmacy Practice

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