The role of the pharmacist has expanded well beyond functions to solely provide medications for patients. Many pharmacists provide numerous additional patient-centered services like coordination of medications during care transitions, medication therapy management, comprehensive medication reviews and ongoing medication monitoring, chronic disease management, disease education, and overall patient education. These additional services pharmacists provide to their patients have a significant impact on their medication adherence and relating outcomes. As pharmacists provide patients with information to gain the full benefit of their medications, they are playing a pivotal role in the health care team.
Recognition and achievement of provider status for pharmacists is important to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for patients. In order to improve patient outcomes in a cost-effective manner, the proper use of medications is a key factor in achieving these goals.
The treatment of chronic conditions cost the U.S. health care system a whopping $1.7 trillion in 2009. Seemingly minor improvements in chronic disease management through monitoring patients proper use of medications would result in substantial savings for the health care system. With nearly 75 million baby boomers on the verge of retirement for the next 20 years, an average of 10,000 people will turn 65 everyday. Based on this increase in the aging population, it has become more important than ever for the health care system to improve patient outcomes and decrease costs.
On a yearly basis, more than 1.5 million preventable medication-related adverse events occur. Additionally, the health care system racks up about $290 billion dollars annually in avoidable costs to treat the adverse effects of incorrect medication use. In particular, medication non-adherence results in $100 billion yearly in excess hospitalizations. Pharmacists are in the most important position to help subside these outrageous costs, improve patient adherence, and over all well-being. The role may be more important than ever before.
Studies clearly reflect the positive patient-related results achieved when pharmacists are equally as involved members of the health care team. Patient outcomes improved, they reported higher satisfaction rates, and health care costs were reduced. However, without giving pharmacists provider status and a more equal role in the health care team, patients and providers are many-times blocked from accessing the important benefits that pharmacists can deliver.
The knowledge and quality of care pharmacists can provide patients is one of the fundamental reasons that iMedicare has evolved as a provider-facing platform. We believe that a pharmacist is the best-suited person to help seniors compare Medicare Part D plans to save patients money while finding them the best option that fits their medication and healthcare needs.
Medicare Part D can be confusing. Quantity limits. Prior authorizations. Formulary changes. Therapeutic alternatives. This jargon can be enough to confuse anyone! Combine that with commissed insurance brokers coming from every direction, misleading literature sent from each chain pharmacy in a 10-mile radius, and simply navigating the Medicare.gov site. With all of this nonsense cluttering the minds of those in search of the right Part D plan, pharmacists remain the most knowledgeable individuals to help patients understand what their best options are. By helping patients enroll in the right Part D plan, with iMedicare, pharmacists have the ability to switch out therapeutic alternatives, find the lowest-cost plans, and provide statins to patients who may benefit from them. All of these factors add to the continuing goal of improving patient adherence, health, and outcomes.