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The role of pharmacists in improving access to health care, patient outcomes

Source: Benefits Canada. Read full article online.
Donalee Moulton | October 5, 2018


Despite significant awareness and discussion around what ails Canada’s health-care system, little has changed, said Rose Dipchand at the 2018 Halifax Benefits Summit on Sept. 20.

Substantial economic challenges remain, the population continues to get older and unhealthier, wait times are still increasing and there’s poor adherence to treatment, noted Pharmasave’s regional manager of professional affairs, Atlantic division, during the conference.

“The traditional health-care system is not working and not sustainable,” said Dipchand. What’s needed, she added, is an improved system, including health plan design and investments that are allocated to areas proven to enhance health outcomes.

In the current reality, where expanded scope of practice continues to be the new normal, pharmacists can lend a helping hand in achieving both system efficiencies and improved patient outcomes, said Dipchand. She pointed to options around prescriptions as one example of the services that pharmacists can provide. In at least some provinces, these include prescription extensions, adaptations and substitutions, as well as trial prescriptions and emergency prescribing.

The impact of using pharmacists to help address key health issues can be noteworthy, she said. A program recently piloted in New Brunswick demonstrated this impact when it came to urinary tract infections, which is the eighth most common reason for visits to medical clinics and the fifth most common reason for emergency room visits.

Between June 2017 and April 2018, 750 patients were enrolled in the program. They presented with either symptoms of UTI, but without antibacterial treatment, or a prescription from a doctor. Pharmacists prescribed antibacterial therapy, modified antibacterial therapy, provided education only or referred the patient to a physician, as appropriate.

According to the findings, published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal, 88.9 per cent of patients achieved a clinical cure. The results of a followup patient survey showed very high levels of satisfaction for the care received, as well as for levels of trust and accessibility of the pharmacist.

Plan sponsors should look closely at how pharmacists can help their members and their bottom line, said Dipchand. “What are the services out there that can help your employees stay healthy and at work? Look at us as partners.”


About Pharmasave:

With more than 650 stores across the country, Pharmasave is one of Canada’s leading independent community pharmacies. Since being founded in 1981, Pharmasave has focused on building a national platform of community-based retail outlets designed to provide exceptional patient-centred healthcare, medication advice, drug store products and customer service. MedAlign@Pharmasave is a collection of services that helps patients manage their medications more effectively, increases patient adherence and improves health outcomes. Through MedAlign@Pharmasave, pharmacists provide medication reviews and medication synchronization, assisting patients by aligning their refills to come due on the same day. Pharmasave continues to differentiate itself through leading-edge digital solutions. Patients can access everyday tools to manage their health in ways that are simple to set up and easy to maintain with eCare@Pharmasave. This suite of interactive solutions enables patients to engage digitally with their pharmacy and empowers them with mobile refills, medication reminders and so much more. Each Pharmasave store operates independently to serve its individual community, tailoring both programs and services to the unique needs of customers and reinforcing the commitment to help all customers live well with Pharmasave.


For more information, contact:

Media Relations
Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd.
Phone: 604-455-2455

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