The Evolving Role of Pharmacists and Its Impact on Helping Manage Your Medications

Updated on: October 28, 2020

Originally posted on: July 1, 2020
by
The Roadmap for Medicare staff specialize in all topics related to Medicare Part D, choosing a Medicare plan, and making smart health decisions in retirement.

Pharmacists are considered by many consumers to be the most accessible healthcare professionals in the community. Furthermore, according to a Gallup poll published in 2019, pharmacists are among the most highly trusted people in their occupations.

Amid the most significant healthcare crisis in generations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists are being called on to assist in ways that go beyond filling and dispensing medications. Pharmacists are increasingly becoming an essential source for healthcare information and support. They help drive medication adherence by clarifying information on prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. They can provide helpful tips on tracking how and when you take your medications, and teach you how to self-administer injections and use a lifesaving aid like an inhaler.

Pharmacists Can Be Available 24/7

Sometimes a question about a medication or an adverse reaction to a medication can come up when the doors of your local brick and mortar pharmacy are closed. It is good to know that Medicare Part D plans have pharmacists who are available 24/7 and just a phone call away. Some Medicare Part D plans also have specialty-trained pharmacists who have extensive knowledge in the medications that treat chronic and complex conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disorders. In addition, you can talk to a pharmacist by phone from the comfort and privacy of your home.

Home Delivery Boosts Safety and May Improve Outcomes

It’s an ideal time to consider using home delivery pharmacy services for added safety and potential savings. In addition, home delivery may be a better option for those managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Ordering a 90-day supply of your maintenance medications may result in some prescriptions being more affordable, and reduce frequent visits to the pharmacy.

By eliminating the need to pick up prescriptions at a pharmacy and by having the ability to obtain up to a 90-day supply, Medicare beneficiaries may be more likely to adhere to their medication therapy. In turn, overall health outcomes may improve. On the other hand, non-adherence to one’s medication plan may lead to costly hospital readmissions.

Need to Go to Your Local Pharmacy? Keep These Points in Mind.

If you still need to order your medications from your local pharmacy, make sure you take proper safety measures. Wear a face covering if required, take a hand sanitizer, wash your hands frequently and immediately after coming back from the store, and avoid touching your face.

Another option to reduce contact is to use a pharmacy’s drive thru. Other strategies for limiting
direct contact at the pharmacy include:

  • Avoid handling insurance or benefit cards. Consider taking a photo of the card or reading the information out loud (in a private setting) to your pharmacist.
  • Avoid touching objects that have been handled by other customers, such as hard counter surfaces and PIN pads.
  • Save your payment information at the pharmacy to reduce the time spent picking up medications.

The Takeaway

Remember, pharmacists are part of your healthcare team – they can help advise you on ways to manage your medications and stay safe.

If you have a chronic condition, make sure to speak with a pharmacist who can help you manage your condition, possibly reduce the cost of your medications, and achieve better health outcomes.