The Value of Pharmacists in Health Care
The American health care system is concerned about the rise of chronic diseases and related resource challenges. Management of chronic disease traditionally has been provided by physicians and nurses. The growth of the care management industry, in which nurses provide remote telephonic monitoring and coaching, testifies to the increasing need for care management and to the value of nonphysician clinicians. However, this model is challenged by a number of factors, including low enrollment and the growing shortage of nurses. The challenges to the traditional model are causing policy makers and payers to consider innovative models. One such model includes the pharmacist as an essential provider of care. Not only is the number of pharmacists growing, but they are playing an ever broader role in a variety of settings. This article broadly surveys the current state of pharmacist provision of care management services and highlights the increasingly proactive role played by Walgreen Co. toward this trend, using recently conducted research. Pharmacists are making a noticeable impact on and contribution to the care of chronic diseases by improving adherence to medications, a key factor in the improvement of outcomes. Literature also suggests that pharmacies are increasingly encouraging, expanding, and highlighting the role and contributions of their professional pharmacists. Although the role of the pharmacist in chronic care management is still developing, it is likely to grow in the future, given the needs of the health care system and patients.
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