Primary Care and Pharmacy: Sooner or Later?

Category: Patient Engagement Written by Dr. Charles Shively / November 6, 2014

Primary Care IS Pharmacy!

Who here senses…as I do…that pharmacy owners can effort ROI success by establishing primary care centers within their existing operations?  Are we “on the same page”?

Think about it…many elements of the primary care health scenarios that involve physician, pharmacist and patient are already being performed by community pharmacists. Isn’t this an expansion of the required “Triad” by which we practice?

Are you involved with MTM immunizations, adherence commitments and discussions about therapy improvements with you patients and their physicians, physician assistants or nurses?

Relationships with physicians have previously been required to effect wide scope immunizations through a contractual agreement. So…the concept of offering primary care within a pharmacy isn’t a new or difficult opportunity to effect…is it?  New patient care efforts (primary care involvement) are opportunities for financial reward. What’s the expression: Aren’t risks really rewards in disguise? But is this really a risk?

Many independent pharmacy owners in both metro and rural locations have experienced the large retail chains entering this arena with in-store pharmacy primary care centers managed and implemented by nurses under arrangement with an area physician. Why not get into the game?

Perhaps unknown to many is that the anticipated reduction in emergency hospital visits proposed by the Affordable Healthcare Act has actually resulted in more emergency hospital visits due to the increased insured population. Many are going to the emergency room for minor issues…child earaches, colds, flu-like symptoms, respiratory allergy challenges, etc. Circumstances that a primary care location might accommodate…without the long service wait that occurs in the hospital emergency room.

As a pharmacist, I’m keen on advancing my patient/customer embrace of “I’m Helping Myself”…taking responsibility for their own health care involvement. Many years ago, the local community pharmacist was the first contact for entrance into the healthcare system. I know…I was there.

Are pharmacists regaining their position as a valued member of the healthcare system for their width and depth of directing best approaches to solving a patient/customer’s health dilemma?  Has the “pendulum swung back?”

As a pharmacy owner, Primary Care is clearly an easy mental extension of healthcare pharmacy business success with tremendous ROI.

Are we on the same page?

Thank for sharing!

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