With the rapid adjustments of everyday practices in the past couple years, pharmacies have shifted in a positive direction. More specifically, community pharmacists have been able to thrive during this time due to their abundant need. As time goes on, new trends have been forming to help guide pharmacists through these changes; whether it be procedure, staffing requirements, or new educational methods. Here are five potential trends for the 2022 year:
- At Home Services
In attempt to keep people out of nursing homes longer as they age, pharmacists have begun to offer at home services. This allows them to stay in a comfortable environment for as long as possible. Unfortunately, pharmacists have yet to see the proper payment for their efforts. As a result, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has proposed the recognition of medical at-home pharmacy services regardless of where the patient resides. While pharmacists aren’t often seen with the same authority as doctors, they are much more approachable and has more frequent patient communication which establishes a level of trust that is required for this new service to work.
- Increased Data Technologies
During the pandemic, there was a lack of visibility into inventory status, location, and production process for medical drugs and products. This led to a delayed response that could have been avoided with the proper data technology. Since then, the FDA has cracked down on logging inventory and product location in order to determine supply chain needs. This new technology is useful to pharmacy leaders to leverage clinical intelligence to help determine drugs’ appropriate use and make evidence-based care decisions.
- Jump in Point-of-Care Services
In the past year, a large majority of pharmacies have obtained their Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificates of waiver. According to the CDC, “the CLIA regulations include federal standards applicable to all U.S. facilities or sites that test human specimens for health assessment or to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease”. Despite the certifications initially being obtained for COIVD-19, this has opened a new door. These pharmacies are now able to branch into other acute infectious disease and chronic disease management and in many states, are even able to test and treat these patients for minor ailments.
- Permanently Added Immunization Services
While many pharmacies have had immunization programs in place already, the volume of demand has only increased. This has been a difficult addition to their everyday tasks with little staff to assist. As a result, many have adopted the use of scheduling platforms to determine when they will have time for regular pharmacy duties and when extra staff is needed for vaccinations. This new method will help pharmacists meet the gaps in immunizations for children and adults alike.
- The New Role of Pharmacy Techs
While the role of the pharmacist has expended greatly over the past couple years, so has the role of pharmacy technicians. Under the Public Readiness and Preparedness (PREP) Act, medical professionals can engage in the provision of services that may exceed their ordinary scope of services under usual circumstance. This act defined pharmacy technicians as a “qualified person” to administer the flu vaccine to adults in their state, as well as, facilitating point-of-care testing. Both roles must be done under the supervision of a pharmacist, but this is only the beginning of the additional value technicians can bring.
Each year brings higher expectations and higher demand for pharmacies. As staffing shortages continue, it is important to outsource any task you can to make more time for patient needs. One of those tasks are pharmaceutical returns. At Guaranteed Returns (GRx), all you have to do is send your expired medications to us and we will handle the rest. Visit our website to learn more about what GRx can do for your pharmacy.