Survey: Pharmacists want to counsel patients, build provider relationships

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Survey: Pharmacists want to counsel patients, build provider relationships

By Sandra Levy - 11/02/2018
Patients visit their pharmacists 30 times per year, and that number is increasing as pharmacists’ roles within healthcare delivery evolve and expand, but pharmacists are only able to spend 10% of their time counseling patients, according to a recent survey conducted by Maru/Matchbox for AmerisourceBergen's inaugural "Pharmacy Check-Up: Activity & Barriers to Care Analysis."

The survey, conducted among more than 250 pharmacists working in chain, health system, independent and specialty settings also found that 62% of independents and 58% of specialty pharmacists reported being bogged down by contracting with manufacturers and payers.

All pharmacists agreed that building relationships with prescribers is a top way to overcome some of these barriers, and that inventory management tools can help to better solve daily obstacles.

The study also found the following:

  • Chain pharmacists spend the largest proportion of their time filling prescriptions compared with pharmacists within alternative sites of care (38% versus 24% independent, 19% hospital, 16% specialty);

  • On average, pharmacists across all sites of care also stated they’re only able to spend 10% of their time counseling patients, primarily focused on providing education around how to safely and effectively take medication, potential side effects and compliance. However, this is the same task that pharmacists feel like they should spend more time devoted to, along with medication therapy management, which was most strongly felt by chain pharmacists;

  • Across all sites of care, counseling patients was an area that all pharmacists believe they will spend more time on in the future, with chain being the most pronounced (counseling: 75% versus 57%
    independent and 55% specialty; MTM: 85% versus 68%/62%/63% respectively);

  • They also feel they will spend more time caring for patients via preventive care screening,
    administering immunizations and urgent care/on-site clinic. This is particularly true for chain. Hospital and specialty pharmacists feel they will spend more time on data reporting in the future (47% hospital, 65% specialty versus 24% chain, 24% independent);

  • On the flip side, pharmacists feel they should be spending less time on insurance/reimbursement related activities. Chain pharmacists are more likely to think they should be spending less time on this activity compared with hospital and specialty pharmacists (70% versus 44%/40%);

  • Hospital and specialty pharmacists spend the most time on insurance and reimbursement
    activities relative to their counterparts;

  • Specialty pharmacists also expect to be spending more time on insurance/reimbursement related
    activities as compared with chain and independent pharmacists (53%versus 25% and 31%);

  • All pharmacists agree reimbursement issues are a significant barrier to good care. For chain, they are stymied by staff resources (73% significant barrier versus 29% independent, 49% hospital, 40% specialty), while independent and specialty are particularly bogged down by contracting with payers and manufacturers;

  • The majority also agree that building relationships with prescribers is a top way to overcome some of these barriers (76% for chain, 72% for independent, 71% for hospital and 65% for specialty), and that inventory management tools can help to better solve daily obstacles (62% for chain, 47% for independent, 52% for hospital and 50% for specialty);

  • When it comes to barriers to running a successful business, pharmacists agree that fair reimbursements and staff management/training are the largest barriers;

  • However, chain and hospital pharmacists are more likely than independent and specialty to cite staff
    management/training as a barrier (73% for chain and 63% for hospital versus 46% for independent and
    40% for specialty); and

  • Finally, when looking ahead, all pharmacists outside of the hospital setting rank being able to play a greater role in patient care as what they are most excited about as the field of pharmacy evolves.

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