Beyond Dispensing: The Changing Role of our Pharmacist

When you’re not feeling well where do you go?

  1. Doctormarch_blog
  2. Walk-In Clinic
  3. Hospital
  4. Pharmacy

Depending on our health issue – we usually stick to one of the first three. For most of us, we go to the pharmacy after we get medical advice.

Pharmacists are getting more involved in providing treatment

March is Pharmacist Awareness month and depending on the province and legislation, many pharmacists are playing an increasingly active role in our overall health care.
Recently, the New Brunswick government tabled a bill in the legislature that would allow pharmacists to prescribe treatments for minor ailments like medications for calluses and heartburn. Other provinces including Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan already have legislation in place to allow pharmacists to prescribe for similar health issues. So, is this a good thing?

Your pharmacist can be a health care partner

What services do many pharmacies provide beyond just filling prescriptions? Well, pharmacists can advise on treatment and medication, suggest or physically change a medication so it’s easier to take and even prescribe topical and medical treatments for minor ailments. Services like flu shots or other vaccinations are also something you can get at many pharmacies —along with support and advice to help manage long-term conditions like diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.

Pharmacists can help with health care affordability and accessibility

As consumers of health care, knowing the types of supports and services our pharmacists offer can do a lot for health care accessibility and affordability. For example, if we have a minor irritation or rash, it’s easier to visit our pharmacist who can probably recommend a cream or check to see if we are having some kind of reaction. Your pharmacist will let you know if you should seek further medical attention. Every little bit helps and going to your pharmacist for advice on the little things could help ensure better access to care for those who need medical attention for more serious issues.

Keeping the health care consumer informedmarch_blog2

Benefit providers and employers can also help raise awareness about services offered by local pharmacies to keep health care more affordable and accessible. We have a pretty extensive provider network, which has allowed us to partner with pharmacies and raise awareness to our members over the years. Just a couple of years ago, we introduced our Pharmacy Value Finder website for our members in the Atlantic region. The site keeps our members informed about the services and overall value offered by pharmacies in their local communities.

What do you think?

With the changing role of our pharmacists there’s a lot of opportunity for us to receive care quickly and affordably by knowing the types of services offered.

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