If you’re feeling undervalued, have you taken a minute to quantify your value? Traditionally, Pharmacists have looked at the following qualitative and quantitative measures in determining their value to the pharmacy.
- Ratings based on customer service
- Ratings based on feedback from boss and subordinates
- Gross/Profit margin of the pharmacy
- Prescription volume (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Prescriptions verified individually (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Clarifications to prescriber orders and prescriptions that ensure patient safety
Fill more prescriptions, work harder and faster, receive positive feedback from your customers and superiors, and most importantly ensure patient safety. Traditionally this has been enough to justify our value.
How can our profession continue to add value to the healthcare system?
Advocate/Request greater access to acquisition cost data of medication
First, it’s easier to manage a pharmacy budget when you have direct access to medication cost data. The largest expense in any pharmacy is the cost of medication; and soon the largest cost to the entire healthcare system will be the cost of medications.
Second, as it relates to medication cost; Pharmacists with access to medication cost data potentially will have more confidence in which medications to recommend to prescribers. The ability to understand medication cost will help Pharmacists become leaders in reducing both State and Federal Government expense. Pharmacists are trained to effectively balance information pertaining to cost while ensuring patients receive the appropriate pharmaceutical care.
A greater understanding of reimbursement formulas
WAC (wholesale acquisition cost), AWP (average wholesale price) , and AAC (average acquisition cost) can kind of sound like the abbreviations of a college football conference. A broad understanding of reimbursement terminology and the pricing formulas that are put into place by PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) can improve the practicing Pharmacist’s awareness — this also adds value to the pharmacy that he/she staffs and/or manages.
Greater emphasis on the documentation of errors and omissions
Pharmacy is a profession of detail. Appropriate documentation of errors and omissions is imperative to patient safety. It’s also important in defining our value to the healthcare system.
There is a value in ensuring patient compliance to a drug regimen.
There is a value in catching a prescriber error.
Ultimately we are on the front lines in preventing hospital admissions due to drug errors and omissions. Likewise we help to prevent re-admissions due to medication non-compliance. How can our Profession express this value? I believe that may be a billion dollar question.
An ability to “data mine”
Wikipedia defines data mining as the computing process of discovering patterns. Pharmacists have an opportunity to take a more active role in “data mining” technology. Software like Prescribe Wellness is essentially a “data mining” resource. The ability to adapt quickly is important in the market. Data mining gives the Pharmacist a detailed look into both prescribing patterns and refill compliance.
Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn
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