Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Pharmacy as a Positive Disruptive Innovation

Published Online: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Recently, NACDS Chief Executive Officer Steven Anderson described pharmacy as a “disruptive innovation” because it is producing new ways of delivering health care that help to lower costs. He went on to say that “if we position community pharmacy effectively as the face of neighborhood health care, this industry will emerge as a disruptive innovator and will create a positive long-term impact on health care delivery and for the good of patients.”
I agree that community pharmacy has that potential, but right now most community pharmacists work in a silo, are not integrated into a team with other health professionals, and thus their interventions are not appreciated by the patient’s other providers. In fact, the community pharmacist is often seen as a competitor rather than a team member. Until we find a way to become part of a system, whether virtual or live, we will have a hard time being perceived as positive disruptive innovation, I believe.
When I started in pharmacy, I was told by my professors that you need to market your services, so go visit your local MDs, get to know them, and let them know what you can do for their patients. Maybe we need to start marketing our “disruptive innovations” to other health team members in our community today. I do see some small signs that pharmacists are trying to become more integrated into the system rather than continuing to practice in the “splendid isolation” of the prescription counter—and they now want to be more accessible to patients. Sometimes change comes slower than we would like but I think it is happening. What do you think?
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Info
This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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