At RBC 2017, Cardinal Health launched a new program that minimizes the complexities for a retail independent pharmacy to establish a CLIA-waived flu and strep testing service for their patients. The launch of such a service further emphasizes the emerging trend of direct patient-care services being offered in community pharmacy and the consumer-driven demand of accessing convenient healthcare services. For certain screenings, patients will no longer have to make a doctor’s appointment or schedule a visit with their local urgent care clinics. They can just visit their local pharmacy for point-of-care testing.
“Pharmacies offering more patient care services helps further establish the pharmacist as a healthcare provider in the minds of patients and consumers,” Eleanor Daufenbach, director of clinical marketing for Cardinal Health, told Drug Store News. “This will help elevate the role of the pharmacist and provide more business opportunities.”
The program will help retail independent pharmacies establish and manage a successful flu and strep program for their patients. “The Point-of-Care Testing program will provide everything from protocols, collaborative practice agreements and continuing education to the automated reader device, flu and strep tests, and marketing materials to help community pharmacies promote their new services to the community,” Daufenbach said.
“Cardinal Health brings solutions to market that are difficult for individual pharmacies to develop on their own. We want to support our customers’ business and help them keep up-to-date with emerging patient-care trends in retail pharmacy,” said Daufenbach.
There are some 16 states today that allow pharmacists to test for certain conditions and prescribe under a collaborative practice agreement, Daufenbach noted. “If you go into a pharmacy and you test positive for flu, the pharmacist can then prescribe Tamiflu,” she said. “There are 21 states that currently only allow pharmacists to test, but not prescribe. We hope to see a trend of more states allowing pharmacists to test and prescribe.”
As health care evolves and patient demands change, the role of the pharmacist is changing and expanding. The CLIA waiver and the emerging trend of flu and strep testing in retail pharmacy offers a unique opportunity for pharmacies to expand their business and position themselves as health destinations in their communities.
Photos courtesy of Alabastro Photography