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A pharmacist and a patient

CVS Health report highlights need for expanded role of retail pharmacists

A CVS Health/Morning Consult survey finds that 61% of adults say they would like to get a greater range of health services from their local pharmacy.

Consumers have a strong preference and demand for an expanded role for pharmacists, according to CVS Health's new report dubbed, 'The Rx Report: A New Day in Retail Pharmacy', which highlights the results of a CVS Health/Morning Consult survey.

Released during American Pharmacists Month, the report examines the history and evolution of community pharmacy in America as well as specific opportunities to expand pharmacists’ role in providing access to affordable, high-quality health care. Built on lessons learned and the role pharmacy has played during the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes unlocking capacity for more pharmacy-based services that further align the role of the pharmacist with their clinical abilities.

“Throughout the pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians played a critical role in the nation’s response by helping to ensure widespread access to testing and vaccination in local communities,” said Prem Shah, executive vice president of CVS Health and president and chief pharmacy officer of CVS Pharmacy. “Consumers have become accustomed to receiving expanded care at their local pharmacies and it’s imperative that lawmakers and regulators take action to ensure continued access to critical services.”

[Read more: CVS Health launches HERe, Healthier Happens Together]

Consumer sentiment underscores a clear opportunity for the industry, with key findings showing that respondents:

• Trust their local pharmacist/pharmacy team and agree pharmacists should provide healthcare services when primary care is unavailable (74%);

• Would like to be able to get a greater range of health services from their local pharmacy (61%); and

• Believe pharmacist services should be covered by insurance like other provider services (69%).

“To continue evolving the role of the pharmacist and the industry, we must first make retail pharmacy a better and preferred place to stay and grow a career," Shah said. "This will require innovative approaches that challenge long-standing ways of working and create important capacity for patient care and new pharmacist services.”

The report also explored how technology is essential to help enable pharmacists to do more purpose-driven, patient-centered work and create a better experience for patients. For example, digital tools can help to improve the pharmacy experience, in-store and online, creating more choice and convenience for the patient while ensuring more time and capacity for meaningful pharmacist interactions when and where they want it.

CVS Health said that there is an opportunity to continue to move the retail pharmacy industry forward to better meet patient and pharmacy team needs. By empowering and enabling its 30,000 pharmacists to practice at the top of their training, education and clinical ability, CVS Health is changing how pharmacy care is delivered, CVS Health noted.

[Read more: CVS Health providing no-cost heart health screenings at MinuteClinic during National Women’s Health Week]

The poll was conducted between Aug. 16-17, 2022, among a national sample of 2,210 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, race and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Download and read the full report here.

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