Pharmacists’ Role to Expand Over Next Decade amid the Pandemic and Provider Shortages

Bloomfield, Connecticut.And January 12 2022 /PRNewswire/ – New research released today by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health & Quick Scripts® The Pharmacy Company, an Evernorth company, reveals that amid a growing shortage of providers, pharmacists in the United States are well trusted by patients and are expected to play an increasingly integral role in the management of care.

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The Prescription Trust report, which included more than 3,000 patients, 1,000 pharmacists, and 500 providers (including physicians and nurse practitioners), was designed to more deeply understand the growing role of pharmacists in transforming patient care. It is the largest study of its kind ever and the first to include the voice of patients.

“The findings of the report are clear. Most people trust pharmacists to play a greater role in providing their care. With the continuing shortage of doctors and nurses, and with the development of complex new treatments and digital healthcare technology solutions, the role of the pharmacist will continue to evolve” John McHugh،, MBA, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

The main findings of the survey, which was conducted from November to December 2021, included:

Pharmacists will expand responsibilities: Looking at the field of pharmacy in 2030, the majority of pharmacists see a transition from transactional care to more direct patient care responsibilities.

At the forefront of this trend are pharmacists in mobile clinics, health systems (hospitals) and home delivery pharmacies, who often already act as specialists advising patients with specific diseases or interacting with a larger health team to help manage complex patient care.

Providers and patients trust pharmacists: Nearly 80 percent of patients said they see pharmacists as an integral part of their healthcare team.

Providers report a high level of confidence, often in excess of 90 percent, in pharmacists’ current professional activities, including dispensing medications, communicating with health professionals and patients about potential adverse drug reactions, advising patients about their medications, and administering vaccines. Notably, providers who collaborate with pharmacists have increased confidence in pharmacists who provide direct patient care and prescribe medications.

Advanced care requires advanced training: Pharmacists recognize that patients need more consistent clinical counseling and education about the disease, but say training will be a focus in key areas to fill gaps in patient care. More than half (53.3%) of pharmacists agreed that their current training and education are sufficient to manage patients. However, pharmacists identified opportunities for additional training in chronic disease education, diagnosis, and prescribing.

As roles evolve, patient involvement also develops: The study showed that nearly half (49.7%) of patients would find it very helpful to have routine exams and medical visits from home. More than half of home delivery pharmacists, such as Express Scripts pharmacists® pharmacy, they reported interacting more with patients via tele-pharmacy, while about 15 percent of retail pharmacists reported using tele-pharmacy. Among pharmacists who use this technology, more than a third say it gives them more time to interact with patients, allowing them to provide important information and support anytime — and anywhere. Patients need it most.

“While the role of pharmacists is expanding in some areas of healthcare, the COVID pandemic has highlighted their ease of access and the trust people have in them as healthcare professionals,” he said. susan pepper, RPh, Vice President of Express Scripts Pharmacy, one of the largest and most experienced home delivery pharmacies in the country that fills 281 million prescriptions each year. In addition to dispensing prescription medications and providing medication advice, many of the 1,000 Express Scripts pharmacists are already specially trained in specific diseases allowing them to discuss illnesses and administer medications directly with the patient as well as in conjunction with their healthcare provider team. The Trust of Trust report confirms that our model of care at Express Scripts Pharmacy is set to support patients in the future of pharmacy.”

Today, America’s pharmacists are beginning to expand their roles in the healthcare chain through wellness checks, remote pharmacy consultations, providing diagnoses for acute conditions and prescribing medications to treat them.

He said, “As we look at the emerging forces shaping the future of healthcare, it is clear that accelerated drug innovation and expanded pharmacy services are two of the most fundamental driving forces,” Eric PalmerCEO of Evernorth Corporation. “We continue to develop our pharmacy offerings and provide specialized training for our pharmacists to support patients with cutting edge care, now and in the future.”

An executive summary of the Prescription for Trust report can be found here.

(For a copy of the full report, please click here.)

About Evernorth

Evernorth creates and connects key health service offerings, including benefits management, pharmacy, care solutions, insights and intelligence. Through an open approach to partnership across the healthcare landscape, we provide innovative and flexible solutions to health plans, employers, and government programs. Our family of companies supports Evernorth capabilities, including Express Scripts and Express Scripts® Pharmacy, Accredo, eviCore and MDLIVE, along with Evernorth’s comprehensive platforms and solutions that elevate health and drive progress for individuals and businesses. Services and services for all Evernorth solutions are provided by or through operating subsidiaries of Evernorth Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cigna Corporation, or third party partners. Learn more at Evernorth.com.

on Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, and Columbia University The Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address critical and complex public health issues that affect New Yorkers, the nation, and the world. Columbia Mailman School is the fourth largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Nearly 300 interdisciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing issues such as infectious and chronic disease prevention, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change and health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with more than 1,300 graduate students from 55 countries pursuing a variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs. Columbia Mailman School is also home to several world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunology. For more information, please visit the website www.mailman.columbia.edu.

Source Express Scripts Pharmacy

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