Amazon have recently announced their entry into the pharmacy space through a medication delivery solution acquisition. Rather than viewing this as a potential threat, pharmacists should consider this as an opportunity to reassess the value that they bring—the existing patient care services, tools, and technology that equip them to deliver patient-centric, personalized care. Whether employing data analytics to more efficiently identify needed interventions, adherence packaging, or medication therapy management, pharmacies can enhance their service offerings to differentiate their practices and keep patients at the center of care.
Leveraging Adherence Tools
Pharmacists have long differentiated themselves with patients by stepping up to help with the confusion around managing multiple medications, and monitoring health issues. By using a comprehensive technology to streamline patient communications and offering adherence tools that can be customized to each patient, pharmacists can ensure they are not edged out by online retailers.
This is especially true when patients experience care transitions. From one care setting to the next, they need the pharmacist as a local resource to help ensure smooth transition and guide them on their path to better health outcomes. Research has shown that pharmacists are especially qualified to fulfill this role, helping to address concerns, and reduce medication errors that might not always be evident. The one-size-fits-all approach that Amazon is developing circumvents the role of the local pharmacist and is not designed to meet the individualized needs of patients with unique health concerns.
Enhancing Pharmacy Care for Better Results
As our nation’s most accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists serve as touchpoints of care in communities all across the country, offering patient-centered, personalized, and coordinated care. Emerging data-driven solutions provide pharmacists with tools they need to increase their value through targeted clinical engagement, enabling them to further improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, while offering a level of patient convenience that rivals Amazon.
Centralized, actionable data specific to managing patient engagement is essential to improving care while reducing costs across the care continuum. For this reason, healthcare needs a system that not only provides convenience related to medication access, but also keeps the pharmacist regularly connected to the patient to evaluate medication-related health needs on an ongoing basis, communicating as needed with patient and prescriber regarding medication adherence, potential medication changes or dosage adjustments, side effects, drug interactions, needed vaccinations, and more.
The coming months will reveal changes that result from the Amazon deal. In the meantime, pharmacists should take this as an opportunity to amplify their value to further differentiate their practices, ensuring that their role will not be diminished by this new venture. By staying connected to their patients and implementing tools that help to expand their service offerings and improve patient care, today’s pharmacists will reinforce their own essential role in the care continuum, now and in the future.