Independent pharmacies are becoming important centers for the delivery of healthcare in many underserved communities. As a result, they are helping to provide greater healthcare access to minority areas. But there is still a long way to go.
Helping Underserved Communities
One pharmacy in California, for example, serves a large Mexican-American community. It is the only independent pharmacy in the area.
The staff is bilingual and can help patients in both English and Spanish, which helps to build trust with the population because they are better able to relate to the staff.
The pharmacy is also sensitive to the cultural values of the community. That is why it has one feature found in few pharmacies – a large collection of prepackaged herbs that are used in many traditional Mexican home remedies.
Pharmacies like this one take the steps needed to take on the health challenges presented by culturally diverse communities.
Improving Health Literacy
Another nonprofit pharmacy in Virginia is working in an underserved area to improve people’s health literacy who don’t speak English. Its goal is to help underserved populations. The pharmacy can provide medications at little or no cost to uninsured patients through grant funding it receives.
Patients can receive counseling and instructions in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Hindi, and Vietnamese.
The pharmacy is also working to provide free insulin to uninsured patients receiving treatment at several different pharmacy clinics.
The pharmacy has received permission to receive previously used medications and redistribute them to patients in need.
Using Social Media
Another pharmacy organization uses a telemedicine network to reach patients in minority populations. Through the use of telemedicine, pharmacists deal with issues involving access to medications and adherence. They also recommend other healthcare providers if necessary.
The pharmacists try to develop a bond with the patients to refer the patient to providers who have a similar background. Social media has a big impact on minority communities, according to a study by Pew Research.
Through the social media site, pharmacists also give out information on several other health issues, including diabetes, breast cancer, and heart health. Patients can subscribe to the organization’s newsletter, watch videos, read blogs, and give feedback.
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