Pharmacists are among the largest groups of healthcare professionals. They are also starting to be seen as an integral part of healthcare teams and for good reason; they are highly trained and knowledgeable professionals. As the number of people with chronic illnesses goes up, demand for healthcare services will increase as well. Pharmacists are well placed to provide those services. They generally work in places much closer to the general public than other medical professionals and are also more accessible. You probably can’t see a doctor while shopping for your groceries, but you can probably stop by and speak to a pharmacist.
This access puts pharmacists on the front lines of health care. They have expertise in a variety of areas such as medication therapy management, wellness counselling, disease prevention, medical devices, and primary care. They can also provide basic healthcare services like vaccinations. One of the biggest problems in healthcare today is adherence, that is, people taking their medication as prescribed. There are a variety of reasons why people don’t take their medication; cost, forgetfulness, side effects etc. all play a part. Pharmacists can help patients stick to their medication regimes. If a patient is having problems with costs or side effects a pharmacist might be able to mitigate them by suggesting behavioral changes or a new medication.
Getting advice from a healthcare professional can be difficult and inconvenient. Doctors are busy and getting an appointment can take weeks. Pharmacists are available almost anywhere. There are moves going on in various jurisdictions to give them the ability to do much more like consulting and referring patients; and altering, stopping, or starting a medication regime. Soon pharmacists won’t just be the people who dispense your medication; they will be the people you go to for other medical issues as well.
At Canada Drugs, we have several fully licensed and qualified pharmacists on staff to provide oversight and counselling services to our patients. If you have any questions about your medication the next time you order do not hesitate to ask for pharmacy counselling. It’s better to ask than to sit unsure about something. So the next time you need a medical question answered and can’t get your doctor on the phone, take a trip to your local pharmacy and see how they can help you.