Magazine article Drug Topics

Think Patient Outcome First, and Income Will Follow

Magazine article Drug Topics

Think Patient Outcome First, and Income Will Follow

Article excerpt

While the debate over reimbursement for cognitive services intensifies, a growing number of community pharmacists are quietly adding them to their practices -- and being paid for them.

Three months ago, after remodeling his Bridesburg Pharmacy in Philadelphia, Ted Aitken, R.Ph., began offering cholesterol screening tests. "The response is good," he said. "We're doing two or three tests a day." He plans to add therapeutic drug monitoring and to market his clinical lab to area M.D.s.

Roger Klotz of Specialized Clinical Services in Santa Ana, Calif., helps pharmacists set up home infusion therapy programs. "There's billions of dollars being spent in this field," Klotz said. He believes that community R.Ph.s have the edge in this "touch and feel" type of business because they know the community. As evidence, he cites a client whose year-old business grosses $350,000 a month.

At the American Pharmaceutical Association's annual meeting in New Orleans, Klotz and Aitken were among 11 pharmacists who offered practical advice to their colleagues on how to set up patient oriented services. The program, entitled "New Frontiers in Pharmacy: Innovative Community and Ambulatory Services," was chaired by University of Illinois at Chicago associate dean Janet P. Engle, Pharm.D., and supported by a grant from Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals Inc.

According to Engle, the roundtable was a "hands on, practical seminar" directed at improving patient care. "The profession is going to die if we don't get away from providing distributive services and become more involved in patient outcomes," she said.

Calvin Knowlton, research associate professor at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, agreed. "The thrust on outpatient care is finally putting the community pharmacist back in the scene," he said.

At the roundtable, Knowlton presented data from a two-year study that monitored drug costs in a nursing home with a "drug use evaluation/education program." Before the study, drug costs at the nursing home were increasing by 12% to 20% per year and were exceeding 10% of the home's budget. "It was concerned that drug costs were going crazy," he said.

Knowlton described the program as "educational intervention with prescribers. …

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