The aging of the global population, the increase of chronic and contagious diseases, and technological improvements in recent years have led to an escalation of health care costs. Kovner and Jonas (2018) outline that medical providers and caregivers can create effective interventions to help sick people and lower medical costs (p. 39). The role of pharmacists can also contribute significantly to increasing the value of healthcare.
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The role of pharmacists has already been changing over the last few years. Nowadays, these medical specialists fill in the prescriptions and are also actively recognized as “the key components in providing individualized patient care as part of interprofessional healthcare teams” (Dalton & Byrne, 2017, p. 37). Pharmacists can help decrease the expenditures of the system by advising to switch from one type of treatment to a more cost-effective, thus, reducing potential spendings of a customer. Since the number of OTC medicine is overgrowing as well, community pharmacists should be trained to recommend purchasing “generic medication rather than high-cost branded alternatives, reducing the cost to the patient and healthcare system” (Dalton & Byrne, 2017, p. 40). In long-term situations, such as care for the elderly, pharmacists may be given more responsibilities to perform the medication review instead of involving the primary doctor.
According to the researchers, hospital pharmacists’ interventions include “discontinuing unnecessary medicines, switching to less expensive agents, or altering the route of administration” (Dalton & Byrne, 2017, p. 41). Legislation should be changed to expand the role of pharmacists to provide services of an increased value, which Jonas and Kovner (2018) define as “the best patient outcomes relative to the amount of money we as individuals are able and willing to pay” (p. 258). The intervention discussed is already being implemented to a certain extent in the US. Future research is necessary to specify which pharmacist roles and services would contribute the most to cost savings without diminishing but increasing the healthcare value.
Dalton, K., & Byrne, S. (2018). Role of pharmacist in reducing healthcare costs: Current insights. Integrated Pharmacy Research and Practice, 2017(6), pp. 37–46. Web.
Kovner, A., & Jonas, S. (2018). Health care delivery in the United States (12th ed.). Springer Publishing Company.