If we are looking for champions of value-based care, no other professional in the healthcare system is more trusted, nor has broader contact with consumers/patients than pharmacists. Pharmacists “touch” consumers/patients at every stage of their life’s journey; while we are healthy, when we are fighting off infectious diseases, when we develop chronic conditions, when we are injured and hospitalized, as well as in skilled nursing and assisted living settings.
Fragmentation in healthcare is among the most serious causes of excess healthcare costs, and most of the effective initiatives to bring down or control healthcare spending in the US and the UK are based on collaborations between, across and among provider groups; breaking down “healthcare silos”. Value-based care requires cross continuum collaborations.
There is no other healthcare professional in a better position to collaborate across provider groups than pharmacists!
Technology is often referenced as the means to fewer errors, higher quality and lower costs. No health profession, with the exception of medical imaging, has embraced technology more thoroughly than pharmacists and pharmacy services providers. Pharmacists were using robotics to fill prescriptions a decade before surgeons started to use them in the operating theater.
And at the same time, no other professional group has more consumer contact than pharmacists. They are truly “high tech’ and “high touch”.
For all of these reasons, I am passionate about the potential for pharmacists and pharmacy services providers to improve healthcare, reduce errors, lower costs and lead the way to greater value in healthcare. I was recently able to see this potential first-hand at the Integra Conference 2018 in Denver Colorado. These extraordinarily well-trained, intelligent and dedicated professionals can lead the way if given the opportunity. Let’s give them the chance!