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How Pharmacy Interventions Can Help Drive Better Health

Nov 08, 2023 | by Stacy Smith

Pharmacy interventions play a pivotal role in promoting better health outcomes for individuals and communities alike. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are an integral part of the interdisciplinary healthcare team in taking care of patients including disease state management, medication therapy management, high-risk medication review, medication reviews for patients who have had falls as well as medication adherence, patient assistance programs to help patients afford their medications and obtaining prior authorizations so the patients may get their medications when rejected.  According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pharmacist-led interventions can reduce the risk of death by 15% among patients with chronic diseases. Another study, published by PubMed Central, found that pharmacist-led diabetes disease management programs led to an average of a 2% decrease in HgA1c, reduced hospital readmission from 21% to 13% which leads to an annual cost savings of 26% per patient per year.

Some examples of the ways pharmacists and pharmacy technicians take care of our patients include:

1. Medication Therapy Management
One of the most fundamental aspects of pharmacy interventions is medication management. Pharmacists are experts in medication therapy and can provide critical guidance on how to take medications correctly. They ensure that patients understand their prescriptions, including dosage instructions and potential side effects. This helps to reduce medication errors and improve adherence, leading to better health outcomes. Pharmacists partner with providers to make medication changes for optimal medication therapy regimens for our patients. 

2. Disease Management
Many older patients are living with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and COPD. Pharmacists can play a significant role in managing these conditions by monitoring patients' health, adjusting medications, and offering lifestyle advice. Regular consultations with pharmacists as part of a greater care team, can help patients better manage their chronic illnesses. They can also offer guidance on routine vaccinations to help prevent complications and reduce the risk of serious health issues. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in disease state management by making sure the patients are adherent to their medications.

3. Medication Safety Review and Deprescribing
Pharmacists conduct medication safety reviews which include high-risk medications for the older population that increase risk for falls. If a patient is falling, a pharmacist reviews their medication profile and identifies medications that may be contributing to falls (e.g., high-risk medications, dangerous combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines) and makes recommendations for safer, covered alternatives.  This leads to decreased falls, decreased fractures and hospitalizations and decreased overall cost of care.  Deprescribing medications is as important, if not more important than prescribing medications.

4. Medication Adherence, Patient Assistance Programs and Prior Authorizations
Pharmacy technicians lead our medication adherence program.  They are dedicated to making sure our patients take their medications as prescribed and identify barriers to non-adherence.  When those barriers are identified, such as, they can’t afford their medications, they can’t get to the pharmacy or they just forget, the pharmacy technician offers solutions.  If they cant afford them, they get them into a patient assistance program if possible. If they can’t get to the pharmacy, they transfer their prescriptions to a pharmacy that delivers them for free and if they can’t keep track of them they get them to a pharmacy that does bubble packing.  Pharmacy technicians are the heart of the pharmacy team, always going above and beyond for our patients to make sure they get the medications they need. 

Pharmacy interventions are most effective when they are integrated into a patient's overall healthcare team. Collaboration between pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare team members ensures that patients receive comprehensive care and that all aspects of their health are considered.

Pharmacy interventions are an indispensable part of modern healthcare, contributing significantly to improved health outcomes and better quality of life for our patients. Pharmacists' and pharmacy technicians expertise in medication management, chronic disease management, preventive care, and various other healthcare services makes them valuable members of the healthcare team. As healthcare continues to evolve, recognizing and utilizing the full potential of pharmacy interventions will be crucial in driving better health for individuals and communities worldwide.