Our Thinking and Thought Leadership is Reflected

I2P has long espoused that community pharmacy has deep roots embedded in patient centering and engagement and has won all of its “stripes” on the basis of all the things that our antecedents did right.
Those “roots” were responsible for our unique style of “over-the-counter prescribing” as well has building a market in compunded prescriptions using unique formulas originating from all manner of pharmacists.
Traditionally, these formulae were held in a small black notebook that was carried everywhere within the pharmacy, and access by another pharmacist was strictly supervised.
Pharmacy patients always asked to speak with “their pharmacist” by name and also instructed that their prescriptions also be compounded by “their pharmacist”.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the online edition of Pharmacy Practice News and found an article titled Returning to Pharmacy’s Roots Via a ‘Population Health’ Model  describing a Norman Rockwell homespun era, where community pharmacists took a patient-focused approach and who acted as a primary care adjunct for customers and patients.

To see one’s own thoughts confirmed after writing about this issue for some years is quite gratifying.
The article begins with:
“The call for a more patient-focused approach to pharmacy is being fuelled in part by the “population health” model, which seeks to preserve value by providing a wide range of community-based preventive care services. According to several experts, health-system pharmacists are uniquely positioned to be a part of such efforts.”

Health-system pharacists are the Australian equivalent of clinical pharmacists and we have been calling for a role for these pharmacists to be established in a community pharmacy environment as well as other clinical areas such as GP practices, private and public hospitals and private nursing homes.
Commentators in the US article use similar language when describing pharmacists as an under-utilised resource.
“Dr. Harris, the director of Population Health and Health Policy at Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health, in Philadelphia, focused on the key roles that pharmacists can play to enhance population health, such as recognizing patterns in patients’ access to care, providing disease screening and immunizations, leading tobacco cessation programs, and advocating for health and environmental policy changes.”

He also spoke reminiscently about his uncle, a small town community pharmacist:

“He understood their needs. He explained diseases, helped them find doctors and coordinated their care.”

This is what i2P has been describing in its various articles as a new paradigm pharmacy is really a return to the old version, but updated to reflect changes in culture and practice.
And using the old version as a springboard to innovate to a progressive future model.
Here are some links to associated articles:

Leadership, Future Direction, Public Health and Triage Services
November 2, 2015
Medical Marijuana and its Positive Possibilities for Pharmacy
October 12, 2015
Walk-In Clinics for UK Pharmacies
September 7 2015
The Opportunity for Pharmacist-Provided Triage Services
August 5, 2015

Following on from the US article:

“Ruth Nemire, PharmD, EdD, noted that pharmacists have already made their mark in population health by helping to boost immunization rates. In a 2011 study, for example, pharmacists successfully identified at-risk patients during influenza immunization, providing additional services such as the pneumococcal vaccine (Vaccine 2011;29[45]:8073-8076.)”

It is only very recently that i2P looked at expanded roles for pharmacists in public health.
We first looked at being part of a triage system for disasters, such as terrorist attacks, major accidents, bushfire management etc.
We also mentioned that we could be the first point of contact for abused women and children and undertake a triage role, pharmacies being most accessible, friendly and less daunting for a woman in distress.
This article even covers this aspect as illustrated:

Dr. Nemire also highlighted additional population health roles that pharmacists may not realize they could fill.
“As pharmacists, we see when people are in trouble,” said Dr. Nemire, the associate executive vice president for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
A person experiencing domestic abuse, for example, might be filling prescriptions for antidepressants and pain medications, and present with physical signs.
“One of our biggest public health services is to be able to direct people to the appropriate services,” Dr. Nemire said.”

Again, it is good to see that i2P thought leadership and independent original research is reflected in such a publication as Pharmacy Practice News and it also reflects our view in that pharmacists should aggressively promote themselves as suitable partners in public health.
Quoting again from the article:

Dr. Miller said. “They need to get out in the community and find out what the needs are. They need to partner with the local public health department or community health centers.”

Dr. Harris agreed, noting that pharmacists “have the knowledge, the experience, the financial resources. Through your collective clout, you have the opportunity to change the rules of the reimbursement game, [and] through more effective policy, you can … accomplish greater population-health goals.”

Because this direction needs to be supported by pharmacy leadership organisations, can we request that this aspect of pharmacy become an agenda item?
Let us get out and join the rest of the health team by bringing our unique pharmacy solutions.

We know what we can do and what we are capable of doing.
But it won’t happen until THEY know what we can do.

And the only way that can happen is if we get out and promote ourselves.
There are non-competitive roles for a range of pharmacists and it only requires a bit of vision and imagination to make it a reality.
Meanwhile we recommend your read the US article in full and keep a copy for reference to develop your own “mind map” as to “how?”

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