CHARLESTON, SC – Pharmacists across the country are angry in regards to the pharmacy being the last stop in a patient’s day. Typically, patients are exhausted when they show up to the pharmacy, but national pharmacy leaders want to change that.
“First off, I want to spell out a standard day for a patient visiting their medical doctor,” said head pharmacist Dr. Sharon Wilkerson.
“Traffic and parking issues are the first hurdles a patient has to deal with to get to our clinic. Next they wait anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour to actually see their provider. Once they do see a provider, labs and x-rays are usually ordered before going back to their doctor for final disposition.”
Wilkerson continued, “Once another 30 minutes has elapsed for the prescriptions and note to be put in, they are finally ready to come to the pharmacy. A mere 2-5 hours has usually elapsed before they even get to us. Of course most patients are going to be tired, hungry, and impatient.”
In the minds of most patients, they have mentally checked out by the time they get to the pharmacy. With little or even nonexistent patience, tempers flare and confrontations are most likely to occur at the pharmacy even over simple things like having to wait an extra 15 minutes for the correct and safe dispension of drugs that could kill people if done incorrectly.
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has put together a plan to reverse the way medicine is practiced. The proposal will have patients visit the pharmacy first before seeing their medical doctors. Pharmacists will prescribe medications that the future doctor is likely to prescribe. For example, if a patient is seeing Dr. Hunters for high blood pressure, the pharmacist will dispense an antihypertensive agent that Dr. Hunters typically prescribes.
Visiting for a possible pneumonia or bronchitis? The plan would be to dispense antibiotics and if the doctor deems them unnecessary, there is a medication return bin on the way out that one could use.
Once medications are picked up, the patients can go to their doctors to confirm that their medications are indicated. The NPA hopes that even if the medication weren’t the ones that the doctor was going to pick, that the doctor will “just make it work” to avoid having the patient come back to the pharmacy.
“Predictive pharmacy is the future for patient satisfaction. We hope to start seeing happier people at the start of our day now, instead of at the end,” said Wilkerson. “We need it for our sanity back here. Please!”