Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph.S Agree: Pharmaceutical Care Is the Way to Go

Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph.S Agree: Pharmaceutical Care Is the Way to Go

Article excerpt

Community pharmacists overwhelmingly support a move toward more meaningful pharmaceutical care, but they think they should be paid for their services. So indicated the results of a survey released at the Pharmaceutical Care Outcomes Research Conference held recently at the University of Georgia. Pharmacists responding to the survey also believe pharmaceutical care is the right direction for the profession as a whole.

"Pharmacists who are more involved in patient counseling report a higher degree of satisfaction with their jobsand higher self-esteem," said Jeffrey Kotzan, professor and head of the department of pharmacy care administration at the University of Georgia and coauthor of the study. He added that a lack of communication skills and private counseling areas are the greatest hindrances to increasing pharmaceutical care.

"We thought we were doing a good job of teaching communication skills," Kotzan said. "We have to do better."

Responding pharmacists indicated that pharmaceutical care is more rewarding to them and that it can improve the health of prescription patients, but they agree there is a need for more education and more pharmaceutical care skills, such as communication. They also reported that obtaining patient data is difficult, that they are not responsible for patient outcomes, that their computers are not capable of providing the information they need, and that they have no time for pharmaceutical care.

In spite of the difficulties, however, attitudes about the future of the profession are consistently optimistic. "Our survey shows that pharmacists are working very hard to overcome the barriers that exist and to provide pharmacy care to their patients," said Matthew Perri, associate professor of pharmacy care administration at the university and coauthor of the study.

Pharmacists are also of the opinion that they should be paid for pharmaceutical care. Asked to comment on the survey results, Calvin Knowlton, president-elect of the American Pharmaceutical Association, said he agrees that the reimbursement strategy has to change.

"You want to change the incentives," Knowlton said. "Right now, the pharmacists are in the workplace filling and billing, and they have these perverse incentives that are really contrary to helping people optimize therapy. It is overwhelmingly clear that they [responding pharmacists] think we're on the right track in helping people optimize the use of their drugs, as opposed to being better drug distributors."

Knowlton said the survey results were not surprising but rather serve as a validation to those in the profession who have been advocating a move toward pharmaceutical care. …

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