Pharmacists are health professionals who regularly dispense medications in pharmacies throughout the world. Pharmacists are on the front lines of patient care, and as a result, they face stressful situations that other medical personnel may not encounter in the same way or to the same extent. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that pharmacists routinely face while working in the pharmacy and filling prescriptions.
Pharmacists must face:
Multiple Medication-Related Responsibilities.
Because pharmacists are responsible for all aspects of medication handling, they deal with many additional responsibilities that go beyond filling requests for prescriptions. In addition to understanding medication ingredients, how medications should be prescribed, and how medications interact with other medications that the patient may be taking at the same time, pharmacists must also be able to interact with patients. They must be able to answer patient questions regarding potential medication side effects, as well as effectively communicate with doctors, hospitals, and 3rd-party insurance firms, regarding insurance payment and the remaining number of available refills based on the doctor’s order.
Demographics in Relation to Prescribing Medications.
As the American population changes, pharmacists interact with patients from various socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. Differences in socioeconomic and religious backgrounds may influence the way in which some patients may perceive medicine, healthcare in general, the types of prescriptions they are required to take, and the frequency with which they are required to take medications, according to their doctor.
Separation of Medical/Pharmacy Benefits.
The current healthcare system is extremely complicated and segmented, particularly in terms of pharmacy compensation. Patients and pharmacists may find the separation of medical and pharmacy rewards confusing, especially in terms of contractual arrangements such as value-based contracting (VBC). Value-based contracting is a contract whereby the pharmacy has to fulfill certain requirements, based on the outcome of the patient’s treatment and other clinical conditions pertaining to patient care, rather than being compensated on a fee-for-service arrangement, for example. Since the process of determining the outcome of the patient’s health based on the medications provided must be gauged over time, it can become complicated for pharmacies, in terms of understanding how they will be compensated.
A Shortage of Drugs.
Another challenge that pharmacists may also face is a shortage of prescription drugs. Sometimes, if a drug has a low cost margin, the manufacturers may stop producing the drug. The biggest shortages have hit the old, generic, and injectable drugs that were once produced by small production companies.
Dealing with Drug Addicts.
Prescription addiction is a huge problem in the US, and the retail pharmacist interacts with drug addicts regularly. This means that the pharmacist has to determine whether the prescription being filled is a legitimate prescription, or if the patient may be a drug addict who is trying to fill additional prescriptions beyond the number of refills authorized by their physician.
The Aging Population.
The mortality rate of Americans is increasing, this presents a lot of challenges for pharmacists, for instance, older patients are usually in need of long-term care while others may be taking numerous types of medicines or suffering from chronic diseases. The increases the likelihood of filling medications that may have adverse side effects when interacting with the components of other medications.
Managing the Use of Opioids.
In addition to dealing with patients who have become addicted to prescription medications, pharmacists deal with patients who overuse their medication by exceeding the recommended dosage as prescribed by their doctor. This may be due to chronic conditions, such as ongoing back pain. Dealing with this type of situation can be especially challenging as a pharmacist, because the pharmacist must be patient, have good judgment, and top-notch communication skills, especially if they are speaking with a patient who may become argumentative when discussing the risks and dangers of medication overuse.
Pharmacists must figure out how to organize their duties and responsibilities to perform tasks effectively and efficiently. In addition to providing prescription guidance to patients, pharmacists must also conduct a prospective drug review, which at times might be challenging, especially in relation to managing the pharmacy workload.
Optimizing Time to Provide Better Health Care Services.
Pharmacists walk a thin line between filling prescriptions and determining which patients need help with understanding potential medication side effects and devoting time to their special needs. This involves reviewing individual cases which at times can be tiresome or challenging, especially when numerous patients are waiting to pick up their prescriptions, and more than one patient needs advice with regard to their medication or their insurance coverage with regard to prescription copays, for example.
Challenges that Come with Monitoring Medication Compliance.
Pharmacists must determine which patients are not complying with taking their medications. This involves noticing how long it has taken a patient to refill their prescriptions, especially if the prescriptions must be filled at regular monthly intervals.
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