As the practice of medicine grows and changes, the work of the pharmacist is expanding as well, taking on a more clinical mantle. Community pharmacists are now offering a range of services to their customers, enabling them to move into a more clinical function and augment their revenue. Here are some new clinical services they are offering.
Flu and Strep Tests
Pharmacists are now performing these tests at the pharmacy. In addition, where they have collaborative practice agreements with physicians, the pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics and antiviral medications and dispense them immediately after the test if it is positive.
More Types of Immunizations
Many pharmacies offer flu shots, but more are now also doing immunization needs evaluations on patients. Pharmacists can now administer any vaccine in 48 states. Pharmacists are checking state immunization registries when they fill prescriptions and using CDC guidelines to make immunization recommendations to patients based on their conditions.
Some states allow pharmacists to make intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. In those states, patients can receive doses of long-acting antipsychotic drugs at the pharmacies.
Counseling for Smoking Cessation
This is another service that pharmacists are offering. One example is a pharmacy chain that gives half-hour consults with patients to talk about the different approaches they can take to eliminate their smoking habit, actions that include using over-the-counter nicotine substitutes and drugs that the pharmacist can prescribe.
To make contraceptives more readily available and to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancies, states are passing legislation allowing pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraceptives. There are now ten states that allow pharmacists to prescribe this type of drug.
Pharmacists meet with patients to discuss their situation. In states where pharmacists can prescribe drugs, they write out a prescription and dispense the medication.
Because pharmacogenomics examines how drugs and genes interact, how genetics can determine types and dosage of medications, it is another area where pharmacists are providing services. Pharmacists’ expertise in the areas of pharmacokinetics, drug transport, and drug metabolism makes them uniquely qualified to work with pharmacogenomic testing, looking at what drugs can be used based on the results of such tests.
The pharmacist will take a buccal swab and send it to a lab for testing. The lab will then send back a pharmacogenomic report, which the pharmacist can consult to advise the patient and make recommendations.
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