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How Pharmacists Make a Difference in Preventative Healthcare

Maintaining good health is more important than ever! Preventative care plays a crucial role in helping individuals achieve their wellness goals, and pharmacists are often overlooked as vital contributors to this process.


pharmacist with fruit and weights

In this article, we'll delve into the world beyond prescriptions and explore how pharmacists are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insights on preventative care. From providing expert advice on medication management to sharing their knowledge on healthy living, pharmacists are key players in empowering individuals to make informed decisions that can help them prevent illness and maintain optimal health in the long run.


Join us as we uncover the multifaceted role of pharmacists and discover how they are revolutionizing the landscape of preventative healthcare!


The Benefits of Preventative Healthcare

Preventative healthcare is an essential aspect of healthcare that focuses on proactive measures to prevent illnesses, injuries, and diseases before they occur. Adopting preventative healthcare practices can help individuals stay healthy and avoid the need for medical interventions.


Preventative healthcare is not only beneficial for improving the quality of life but can also help reduce healthcare costs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases account for 75% of healthcare spending in the United States, and many of these diseases are preventable through lifestyle changes and early detection (1).


By promoting healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress management, preventative healthcare can help individuals reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases and improve their overall health and well-being.


The Pharmacists Are Qualified for Their Role in Preventative Care

As a healthcare provider, the pharmacist has an important role in preventative healthcare. Pharmacists can provide valuable information to patients about their health and how to maintain it. They can also help patients understand medication instructions so that they can follow them correctly.


Pharmacists are trained experts who have the knowledge and skills needed for their profession. A pharmacist must complete approximately 5 to 8 years of schooling to become a pharmacist, depending on the program chosen. Some pharmacy schools require that applicants have earned a four-year bachelor's degree for admission, and some only require two years of undergraduate pre-pharmacy preparatory classes.


After graduation, pharmacists have a doctorate degree in pharmacy and must pass licensing exams before they're allowed to practice pharmacy independently or work as part of a team with other healthcare providers such as doctors or nurses.


Pharmacist-Provided Services

Pharmacists play an essential role in providing patients with a wide range of healthcare services, including:

  • Medication management

  • Health screenings

  • Immunizations

  • Patient education

In addition to their expertise in medication management, pharmacists can provide valuable lifestyle advice to patients, helping them make healthy lifestyle choices that can improve their overall health and well-being. Pharmacists are trained in clinical pharmacy practice, which includes the use of evidence-based guidelines for drug therapy management (2). They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and other members of the healthcare team, to ensure that patients receive safe and effective medications for their condition (3).


By providing a range of services, pharmacists can help patients stay healthy and manage their health conditions more effectively.

Take a deeper look into these services below.

Medication Management

Reviewing Prescriptions Medication management is a key component of preventative healthcare. The pharmacist reviews prescriptions for potential drug interactions, adverse reactions and other safety issues. The pharmacist may also recommend alternative treatments if the prescribed medication is not appropriate for the patient or their condition.

Health Screenings

Immunizations

Patient Education

Lifestyle Advice

Pharmacists can play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles by providing:

  • Nutrition counseling

  • Exercise guidance

  • Stress management advice

  • Smoking cessation services

As medication experts, pharmacists can provide patients with comprehensive guidance on how to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routine. Nutrition counseling can include recommendations on healthy food choices and portion sizes, while exercise guidance may include suggestions for physical activity that matches the patient's abilities and goals.


Both nutrition and physical activity goals can be guided using nutrigenomic testing.

Pharmacists can also provide advice on stress management techniques such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises. Additionally, pharmacists can help patients quit smoking by providing counseling and recommending appropriate medications.


Overall, pharmacists can serve as valuable resources for patients looking to improve their overall health and well-being.


Conclusion

The pharmacist's role in preventative healthcare is to help patients and their doctors work together to identify, treat and manage chronic conditions. The importance of preventative healthcare cannot be overstated; it allows patients to focus on maintaining their health instead of dealing with the consequences of an illness or injury.


Learn about the valuable tools you can use as a pharmacist in preventative healthcare. Book a call with us today!






References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Diseases in America. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm. Accessed on April 22, 2021.

  2. Jordan MA, Harmon J. Pharmacist interventions for obesity: improving treatment adherence and patient outcomes. Integr Pharm Res Pract. 2015 Jul 8;4:79-89. doi: 10.2147/IPRP.S72206. PMID: 29354522; PMCID: PMC5741031.

  3. American Pharmacists Association. Pharmacists' patient care process. Available at: https://www.pharmacist.com/patient-care-process. Accessed on April 22, 2021.

  4. Goad JA. Pharmacists play vital role in health screenings. Pharmacy Times. June 29, 2012. Accessed [Insert date you accessed the article]. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/pharmacists-play-vital-role-in-health-screenings

  5. American Optometric Association. Comprehensive eye and vision examination. Accessed [Insert date you accessed the article]. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/comprehensive-eye-and-vision-examination

  6. Rickles NM, Dube GL, McCarter A, Olshan JS. Relationship between attitudes toward mental illness and provision of pharmacy services. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2010 Nov-Dec;50(6):704-13. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2010.09042. PMID: 21071314.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines and immunizations. Accessed January 3, 2023]. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html

  8. Hogue MD, Grabenstein JD, Foster SL, Rothholz MC. Pharmacist involvement with immunizations: a decade of professional advancement. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2006;46(2):168-182. doi:10.1331/154434506776180621

  9. Isenor JE, Edwards NT, Alia TA, Slayter KL, MacDougall DM, McNeil SA, Bowles SK. Impact of pharmacists as immunizers on vaccination rates: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Vaccine. 2016 Nov 11;34(47):5708-5723. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.08.085. Epub 2016 Oct 17. PMID: 27765379.

  10. Chisholm-Burns MA, Kim Lee J, Spivey CA, et al. US pharmacists' effect as team members on patient care: systematic review and meta-analyses. Med Care. 2010;48(10):923-933. doi:10.1097/MLR.0b013e3181e57962

  11. Kripalani S, Yao X, Haynes RB. Interventions to enhance medication adherence in chronic medical conditions: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(6):540-550. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.6.540

  12. Iuga AO, McGuire MJ. Adherence and health care costs. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2014;7:35-44. doi:10.2147/RMHP.S19801


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