How Chain Pharmacies are Embracing Preventive Care 

 

Pharmacies are not just dispensing drugs these days. They are also offering a range of other services to customers to help them lead healthier lives. Pharmacies are uniquely situated to offer this kind of care because almost everyone lives within five miles of oneBecause of their easy access, pharmacists are in a good position to provide preventive care services and education.  

They are offering a variety of services. Here are a few: 

  1. Immunizations 
    Most pharmacies offer this service, mainly in the form of flu vaccines. Some are offering vaccines for other conditions also, such as Hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and shingles. 
  2. Education about vitamins and other nutritional supplements 
    People spend about $133 billion worldwide for dietary supplements. But customers are often not sure what is best to take or how much to take, so pharmacists are offering advice about the best supplements to take and what supplements work best with various medication regimens. For example, pharmacists can help patients avoid harmful interactions between supplements and drugs and explain what nutritional supplements will replace nutrients lost by using particular medications. 
  3. Medication adherence services  
    Pharmacies are helping people stick with their medication regimens to manage chronic conditions and reduce complications. These programs include coordinating prescriptions, having all of them available for pickup on the same day, and checking for interactions that might occur among the drugs. Pharmacists then meet periodically with patients to discuss their medications. 
  4. Diabetes control 
    Helping patients with diabetes management can take various forms, such as education, blood glucose testing, reviewing medications for the disease, and offering nutritional counseling. 
  5. Lab tests 
    Pharmacies are also teaming up with other healthcare providers to offer lab tests, as well as pharmacogenomics testing.  
  6. Smoking cessation  
    More pharmacies are offering programs to help people quit smoking, services that include counseling and medication.

Other areas where pharmacists are in a position to have a big impact on preventive care, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are osteoporosis screenings, testing for chronic diseases such as HIV, and counseling women on the need for folic acid supplements.  

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