As healthcare reform begins to add millions of new lives to the healthcare system in the coming years, perhaps no healthcare provider is better positioned to fulfill the increased demand for basic care services than the retail pharmacist.
Patients visit their local pharmacies several times each year – perhaps as often as once every month. Pharmacists are one of the “most trusted” of all professions (ranking second behind only nurses) and retail pharmacies offer convenient access to services unmatched by any provider. But their impact on truly improving patient outcomes can be limited without the right connectivity to other care providers.
Improved patient outcomes will be optimized by the adoption of technology that allows retail pharmacists to not only improve efficiency but also to electronically collaborate with other members of the patient care team. The pharmacist’s continued access to patients’ personal health information and ongoing communication with the patient and their care team is also critical.
True collaboration will be most effectively enabled as retail pharmacies connect to health information exchange (HIE) networks already in use by hospitals and physicians nationwide. This clinical integration of the pharmacy will give pharmacists access to important clinical data that supports their efforts to operate at the top of their license as they provide more health and wellness services. It also allows other care providers to incorporate patient activity at the retail pharmacy into their decision making process and overall development of a care plan.
Whatever form accountable care delivery models take, enhanced collaboration among pharmacists, physicians, and other providers make accountable care an important tool for providing affordable, high-quality care. If your pharmacy is ready to “get connected”, collaborate with other providers and be recognized as a value member of any accountable care model, contact RelayHealth today.