Providing more health care than you know: Ask a pharmacist
March 2013 is Pharmacist Awareness Month, when pharmacists across the country reach out to make Canadians aware of the many services they offer to improve their patients’ health.
A 2012 survey by Environics Research Group showed that while many Canadians are willing to see pharmacists for expanded services, they simply aren’t aware of the full range of issues they can discuss with their pharmacist. The survey of over 1500 adults showed that Canadians report high levels of interaction and satisfaction with pharmacists’ services, and a full 80% of respondents indicated that they’ve received counselling or advice from a pharmacist. About half of respondents said that they would see a pharmacist for a flu shot or other vaccination, and over 75% said that they would be comfortable going to a pharmacist to order and interpret lab tests.
At Stafford Pharmacy, we celebrate Pharmacist Awareness Month to make sure that our patients know that their pharmacists are there to help, in more ways than they know. There are many health-related issues that pharmacists can work through with patients, without appointments or wait times.
Most Canadians know that pharmacists are the most equipped health care provider to help understand the best use of medications. They can help patients learn how to take medications properly, suggest alternate medications to avoid dangerous interactions and explain potential side effects. For Canadians on multiple medications, most pharmacists can conduct a complete medication review to ensure they’re getting the most from their medications.
But many Canadians don’t know that pharmacists across the country can offer even more than medication expertise and advice. They have the education, knowledge, experience and skills to offer a very wide variety of health care services. In Alberta, pharmacists can prescribe for some situations, including treating minor ailments, adjusting dosages, monitoring and refilling prescriptions. They can also order and interpret lab tests, administer injections and make therapeutic substitutions and help to manage chronic diseases.
Pharmacists are also a more cost-effective solution to Canada’s rising health care expenditures. According to the Canadian Society for Hospital Pharmacists, analyses from a variety of studies have shown that for every $1 spent on a pharmacist’s services, between $6-$25 in hospital costs were saved or avoided.
Pharmacists can help alleviate backups and delays in the health care system. When you walk into a pharmacy, you don’t require an appointment to talk to a knowledgeable professional about a wide variety of health concerns. Pharmacists are a key member of the health care team and can make a huge difference in the lives of their patients.
During Pharmacist Awareness Month 2013, ask your pharmacist how you can work together to make sure you’re as healthy as can be. Providing more health care than you know: Ask a pharmacist.