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Canadian study further demonstrates pharmacists’ role in improving patient care, cost

BY Alaric DeArment

Expanding pharmacists’ role in Canada could reduce the burden of chronic illness on patients and save the country’s healthcare system between C$1.4 billion and C$1.9 billion (US$1.34 billion to $1.83 billion) over the next three years, according to a new report released by Arthritis Consumer Experts, the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Canada’s single-payer healthcare system is vastly different from that of the United States, not to mention differences between the two countries in terms of laws and regulations that govern pharmacy, but the lessons from the study apply equally to both.

The Canadian study is just the latest in years of research showing the benefits of expanding pharmacists’ role in health care. Allowing them to do things like develop and manage patient care plans and renew prescriptions would reduce the work load of physicians and provide greater convenience for patients.

Of course, American pharmacists are no strangers to that level of collaboration with physicians. In many states, in addition to vaccinations against flu and shingles, they can vaccinate against diseases like hepatitis A and B through collaborative practice agreements with physicians.

But perhaps the most crucial role pharmacists play in reducing costs is by promoting medication adherence through services like medication therapy management. Last month, the American Pharmacists Association released a book that presents new ways of teaching the theory and practice of motivational interviewing for healthcare professionals, which has been shown to improve treatment adherence and outcomes, promote behavior change, improve patient satisfaction and increase retention rates in complex case management. According to an often-cited study by the New England Healthcare Institute, poor medication adherence costs the U.S. healthcare system about $290 billion per year.

Then there are services like retail clinics and health screenings. Sam’s Club has administered millions of free screenings to customers at its pharmacies, and CVS announced Thursday the second half of its Project Health wellness campaign, whereby it plans to deliver more than $15 million in free health screenings to communities across the country by the end of the year.

As IMS Health VP industry relations Doug Long said in a presentation at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Total Store Expo in Las Vegas, pharmacies are a crucial link in the cost-containment chain, but reducing healthcare costs will require collaboration between them, physicians, patients and payers. It seems the U.S.’s neighbor to the north gets the idea.

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CVS/pharmacy’s Project Health campaign is ideal platform for more than health screenings

BY Antoinette Alexander

CVS/pharmacy has kicked off the second half of its annual Project Health wellness campaign, which is slated to deliver more than $15 million worth of free health screenings to multicultural communities across the country by the end of the year.

While this campaign, known as "Proyecto Salud" in Spanish, isn’t exactly a new one for the pharmacy retailer, that doesn’t take away from its importance. This campaign further illustrates the vital role that community pharmacy plays along the frontlines of U.S. health care and is especially timely given the fact that healthcare reform looms on the horizon.

Aside from the array of free health risk assessments that will be available to participants — which is no doubt very important — CVS/pharmacy stated that it will have health insurance experts on hand to provide information about the new health insurance marketplace and the coverage options under the new healthcare law. This is a very good move, especially when you look at some of the stats.

According to a March 2013 poll by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, three years after passage, a majority of Americans (57%) said they do not have enough information about the ACA to understand how it will affect them.  And this share rose to two-thirds among some of the key groups the law was designed to help: the uninsured (67%) and those with incomes below $40,000 (68%).

Note the fact that CVS/pharmacy reports about 45% of past attendees were uninsured.

And, when asked how much they have heard about their own state’s decision on whether to create a state-run exchange, roughly half the public (48%) reported hearing “nothing at all,” while just over 1-out-of-5 had heard “a lot” (7%) or “some” (15%), according to the poll.

As CVS/pharmacy clearly understands, the Project Health wellness campaign is an ideal platform to not only help consumers live healthier lives via preventive screenings but to also connect with consumers and provide them with critical healthcare reform information.

 

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Focus Boost launches signature brain function supplement into U.S. market

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Focus Boost on Friday announced the launch of its signature brand into the U.S. market. A national advertising campaign in support of the launch will kick off in the pages of Psychology Today, the company added. 

Focus Boost has been created from a blend of eight ingredients, including B vitamins and other nutrients that have been found to improve brain chemistry and energy production and reduce oxidative stress. Along with proper nutrition and adequate sleep, Focus Boost helps give those with stressful and busy physical and mental schedules the boost they need to perform on a consistent basis, the company stated. 

"While there is no substitute for adopting a healthier lifestyle, brain supplements are an important part of a comprehensive solution," the company stated. "This holistic dietary supplement contains a blend of brain healthy ingredients that strengthen cognition, memory and focus. The formulation also features nutrients that can enhance your physical and mental stamina, which can improve your ability to accomplish important goals."

 

 

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