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Healthcare

Pharmacy Ancillary Services

Introduction

Pharmacy services play a significant role in supporting the delivery of care and treatment to many patients. It is important for pharmacists and other pharmacy staff members to promote the positive delivery of healthcare services through prescription dispensation and clinical guidance as necessary to improve patient compliance and related outcomes. There are many issues to consider with pharmacy-based ancillary services, such as insurance or lack thereof for patients, the high costs of prescription drugs, and high co-payments (Lam and Rose, 2009). However, some pharmacies possess the ability to provide lower cost prescriptions for lower income individuals and families and those without insurance (Lam and Rose, 2009). Furthermore, some pharmacies face challenges with staffing in some areas; therefore, these concerns play an important role in the delivery of high quality pharmacy services to all patients. The following discussion will address these issues in greater detail and will consider the importance of pharmacy services on the effective care and treatment of patients in various settings.

Ancillary Services

Body

The development of a successful pharmacy ancillary practice setting requires an approach that is based upon successful staffing recruitment of knowledgeable and experienced professionals to accommodate the demand for pharmacy services. It is known that “Pharmacists can play important roles in optimizing therapeutic outcomes and promoting safe, cost-effective medication use for patients in medical homes. They are well-trained health professionals, yet they are often underused” (Smith et.al, 2010, p. 906). Pharmacy professionals must demonstrate their clinical knowledge by consulting with patients and determining if they are experiencing any side effects, and if so, how to manage those side effects without further complications” (Smith et.al, 2010). The provision of pharmacy-related services for patients is essential to the preservation of their health and wellbeing and requires their continued contributions to clinical practice (Smith et.al, 2010).

In general, pharmacists represent an important component of ancillary services and clinical practice and provide significant benefits to patients by filling prescriptions and providing knowledge regarding prescription drugs (Nkansah et.al, 2010). Furthermore, patients are provided with information regarding the cost of these prescription drugs as covered by insurance versus out of pocket costs (Rosenthal et.al, 2010). In their roles as pharmacists, these professionals must develop new approaches to working with patients more effectively to achieve effective treatment outcomes (Rosenthal et.al, 2010). In recent years, “With the advent and widespread usage of commercially available drug products, pharmacy education began to focus on pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacology rather than on compounding medications.This marked a shift in how pharmacists understood their role with respect to patient care” (Rosenthal et.al, 2010, p. 39). Therefore, it is important to recognize the increasingly important contributions of pharmacists in advanced clinical care and treatment so that the act of prescribing medications becomes increasingly relevant over the long term, rather than merely filling prescriptions without significant thought and consideration into this practice as it relates to patient care (Rosenthal et.al, 2010).

Current trends in pharmacy services include community-based services and outreach to local community members regarding the benefits, risks, and challenges associated with prescription drugs (Nkansah et.al, 2010). When pharmacists provide guidance to patients, it often bridges some of that gaps that exist between physicians and patients in regards to prescription drug knowledge and side effects (Nkansah et.al, 2010). These efforts are important in providing patients with a more well-rounded view of care and treatment for patients that encompasses the needs of patients more effectively in a variety of settings (Nkansah et.al, 2010). These efforts are important because they contribute to the ability of pharmacists to exercise advanced roles and responsibilities to improve the lives of patients who are prescribed drugs for a series of conditions (Nkansah et.al, 2010).

Another important trend in modern pharmacy services is specialty pharmacies and spending, which are comprised of the following: “The specialty drug category includes the biologics and other injectable and high-cost pharmaceuticals that require special preparation, handling, and monitoring. These medications may be administered either by a physician or the patient” (Vogenberg, 2009). This strategy represents an opportunity to achieve greater specificity in the pharmacy industry and to recognize the importance of different areas to provide specialty pharmaceuticals to patients who require them and to work with insurance providers to better manage payments and authorizations for these drugs, many of which fall under the category of cancer medications (Vogenberg, 2009). These efforts demonstrate that it is important to recognize the value of pharmacy services in creating greater value, particularly for conditions which require specialty services (Vogenberg, 2009). These areas are becoming more significant as time passes and represent an opportunity to provide patients with many specialty medications that are necessary for survival and wellbeing (Vogenberg, 2009). From this perspective, pharmacies must work collaboratively with insurance providers and physicians in order to ensure that the decisions made regarding specialty medications have a patient’s best interests in mind, but that cost effectiveness is also preserved as best as possible (Vogenberg, 2009).

Although emerging trends in the pharmacy industry are highly relevant and contribute to the expansion of high quality patient care and treatment, there are a number of significant challenges that remain and that may lead to financial difficulties for pharmacies when the costs of these medications remain very high and insurance reimbursements are very low. The development of an effective method to manage these issues must be addressed in order to achieve the desired financial outcomes. General trends throughout the healthcare industry have created difficult challenges for many organizations, and in particular, ancillary services such as pharmacies. Therefore, it is essential that pharmacies add significant value to healthcare organizations so that they effectively contribute to the ability of organizations to provide successful care and treatment to all patients.

Conclusion

Pharmacy services in hospitals, clinics, and in other locations to manage and dispense prescription drugs for many patients. These business units are critical to the success of healthcare practice because prescription drugs are often essential for wellbeing and the management of many illnesses. Pharmacies face important challenges as part of an ever-changing healthcare system; therefore, they must be prepared to manage the issues that are likely to transpire in the coming years to achieve effective outcomes for long-term success. Organizations must develop new strategic approaches that are essential to the discovery of new pharmacologic therapies, and pharmacies must support these discoveries by employing knowledgeable and experienced individuals to accommodate these needs effectively and efficiently. It is the responsibility of pharmacists and support staff members to ensure that pharmacy-related services are maximized at all times and will support the development of new ideas to improve pharmacy management and other outcomes so that patient care and treatment is not compromised in any way. These efforts require a team-based approach that will facilitate knowledge and support for patients in this area.

 

References

Lam, A.Y., and Rose, D. (2009). Telepharmacy services in an urban community health care

clinic system. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 49, 652-659.
Nkansah, N., Mostovetsky, O., Yu, C., Chheng, T., Beney, J., Bond, C.M., and Bero, L. (2010).

Non-traditional roles of outpatient pharmacists. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7, retrieved from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0010615/

Rosenthal, M., Austin, Z., and Tsuyuki, R.T. (2010). Are pharmacists the ultimate barrier to

pharmacy practice change? Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal, 143(1), 38-42.

Smith, M., Bates, D.W., Bodenheimer, T., and Cleary, P.D. (2010). Why pharmacists belong in

the medical home. Health Affairs, 29(5), 905-913.

Vogenberg, F.R. (2009). Specialty pharmacy trends and plan sponsor value. Biotechnology                      Healthcare, 6(3), 43-45.