Pharmacy has become a section of the healthcare industry that is easy to overlook because it often operates in the background of healthcare settings. Rarely do we see the pharmacist, who prescribes lifesaving medication, relegated as they are to the backrooms of hospitals where they save lives unseen. Those who do see a pharmacist see them in commercial spaces and seeing them behind a counter often makes it easy to forget these are trained healthcare professionals, not regular cashiers.
This article will go on to illustrate how important pharmacists are to the upkeep of wellbeing across communities, and how pharmacology is a worthy career.
The foundation of community health: pharmacists as lifesavers
Beyond simply prescribing doses of medicine, pharmacists often act as educators and advocates in healthcare. They are poised to extend research into the effects of medicine. They are often at the forefront when it comes to communicating with patients, simplifying the complexities of medicine so they can understand their treatments. Strong patient-pharmacist trust is a cornerstone of a healthy community.
Pharmacists are the bridge between doctors and patients, enabling communication on an even playing field through their understanding of medicine and by imparting that to patients. It is through this coordination that treatment plans are made transparent, and through that subsequent transparency they can be worked on together and their results maximized to create healthy patients. They monitor the health of patients, are aware of the effects of prescribed drugs, and become familiar with the individual patient’s needs. Pharmacists are also responsible for adjusting prescription regimens and evaluating drug utilization, making them guardians of patient wellbeing.
Health promotion and disease prevention
Pharmacists are actively promoting health in their community and contributing to its prevention. Through their actions, like immunization programs, public health is upheld. Their preventative measures help society prevent the risks and damage that illness brings.
For example, smoke cessation counseling is run by many pharmacies who use their connection and trust with the public and their in-depth knowledge of drugs and medicine to provide advice and plans on how to avoid smoking related diseases and illnesses, ultimately lessening the prevalence of smokers entirely. Similar wellness activities are common throughout pharmacies, whether they encourage fitness or support mental health. These activities aim to have patients adopt healthier habits and thus improve their health and general quality of life.
Cultural competence and communication
Culture is a shifting, nebulous thing and today many cultures co-exist within the same space. As a result, the cultural competence of any healthcare professional is important, perhaps most so with pharmacists. Pharmacists work with a range of people from different cultural backgrounds, and they are aware of the importance of communication with those people to ensure equitable healthcare.
This awareness also extends to drug management. Pharmacists must always account for cultural values and idiosyncrasies that might affect a patient’s drug use, including the ingredients of a drug or whether the treatment schedule interferes with the beliefs of a cultural background or religion.
Collaboration with healthcare teams
Pharmacists are not the only gladiators in the arena of healthcare. Their role is intrinsically linked with doctors, nurses, and the work of other medical experts. Through their collaboration, and even at times their disagreements, more holistic healthcare can be achieved so patients receive the best care from all directions.
Specifically, pharmacists contribute their in-depth and expansive knowledge of medication, drug interaction, and administration to the discussion among fellow healthcare workers. It is essential information that doctors and nurses have the best treatment plan to keep a patient healthy and happy. It is through a multidisciplinary approach that healthcare is at its best.
Technology and pharmacists
Technology has changed the world in a very short period. Healthcare is no exception and the utilization of technological advancements for healthcare are an essential part of development. Pharmacists now widely use Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to improve coordination of patient care and decrease medical errors in prescriptions.
Furthermore, telepharmacy has completely changed the playing field. The opportunity to remotely counsel patients, find solutions, and even prescribe drugs electronically to be delivered to the patients’ doorstep has been revolutionary. It allows the extension of healthcare services to remote, impoverished populations to increase the equity of healthcare in society. Patients have more interactivity with their treatments than ever thanks to online or mobile apps, allowing even the most disadvantaged housebound members of society access to pharmacies and healthcare.
The ongoing evolution of pharmacy practice
The advancement of technology and its integration into healthcare is changing pharmacy as a profession. For all its benefits, pharmacists have more responsibility than ever, and while they may have to work hard, the rewards are tangible. Spreading the burden of healthcare to pharmacists, such as prescribing pharmacists, creates more time for doctors to spend on treatment and more access for patients to pharmaceuticals.
An online Doctor of Pharmacy program from the University of Findlay acts as a great possibility for those who want to take part in this evolution and advance their professional development in this field. Pharmacy needs leaders, and these degrees act as the path toward it, providing the best level of education and extensive training to prepare students for the highest level of healthcare. An online model gives students the flexibility to study wherever, and even alongside work. Learning from talented, accomplished instructors and peers in virtual classrooms promotes students to the upper echelons of healthcare knowledge and equips them with the tools to become the best.
Embracing change: pharmacists in the digital age
It is in this digital era that healthcare has changed irreversibly and positively. Embracing the digital revolution has provided equitable, accessible healthcare that consistently performs better through electronic prescriptions and improved efficiency.
The advent of health apps and online websites for pharmacies has meant more interactivity for patients, only seeing pharmacists directly when necessary, and putting patients in control of their own health.
Finally, technological advancements allow pharmacists to educate better than ever in the healthcare space, inserting themselves into the web and actively combatting medical misinformation. They are promoting evidence-based treatments and practices while encouraging healthier lifestyles across social media and other sites. Using their expertise, they can lead patients to better, more reliable information and drive better public knowledge of healthcare.