Referring to “a shortage of doctors in many parts of the United States,” The New York Times editorial board said: “A sensible solution to this crisis — particularly to address the short supply of primary care doctors — is to rely much more on nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, community members and even the patients themselves to do many of the routine tasks traditionally reserved for doctors.”
“This New York Times editorial adds to the increasing recognition that face-to-face, pharmacist-provided services can complement the vital role of physicians in a team-based approach to patient health,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “Doctors, pharmacists and other partners in emerging healthcare models each provide tremendous expertise and advantages. Their unique strengths and collaboration among them can benefit the patient and can help to advance the nation’s approach to healthcare delivery.”
With their extensive professional education, community pharmacy serves as the face of neighborhood healthcare. In addition to focusing on their highly regarded function of providing safe access to needed medications, pharmacists provide medication counseling, vaccinations, health screenings and education, and additional services.
The article also emphasized the importance of retail clinics in providing convenient access to care for patients.
“Hundreds of clinics, mostly staffed by nurse practitioners, have been opened in drugstores and big retail stores around the country, putting basic care within easy reach of tens of millions of people,” the editorial stated.
Anderson emphasized that the discussion about collaboration and increased reliance on pharmacists, nurse practitioners and others should not be confused with replacing the expertise of physicians. “What this is about is working together in new and powerful ways to improve patient health and to improve healthcare quality, and The New York Times editorial board reflected that well,” he said.