Survey: Pharmacists Want to Expand Role in Patient Care, but Burdens Must Lessen

NOVEMBER 15, 2018
While pharmacists look forward to an expanded role in patient care, certain activities and barriers need to diminish to help them bring this to reality, according to research presented recently by AmerisourceBergen. 

The research, titled: Pharmacy Check-Up: Activity & Barriers to Care Analysis, surveyed 252 pharmacists working in chain, health system, independent and specialty settings between August 27 and September 7. among those in the Pharmacy Industry. The study was conducted by global research company Maru/Matchbox.

The findings revealed that 78% of pharmacists across pharmacy settings look forward to playing a greater role in patient care and the majority expect to spend more time on patient-focused activities in the next 5 years. The findings also indicated that pharmacists spend a tenth of their time counseling patients; educating patients on how to take medications is the top consultation item among most pharmacies

The research also indicated that patient-focused activities like counseling patients, medication therapy management, preventative care screenings and communicating with health care providers are top activities on which pharmacists feel they would like to focus more time. 

“Patients visit their pharmacy an average 35 times a year. When you compare that figure to the average 4 times per year for provider visits, you can see that today’s pharmacist is in a tremendous position to expand their role and become part of the patient’s overall care team,” Bob Mauch, EVP and Group President, Pharmaceutical Distribution and Strategic Global Sourcing at AmerisourceBergen said in a press release about the findings. “We know the opportunity that exists for pharmacists and it is incumbent on us as a leading supply chain partner to support innovative ideas with manufacturers, managed care providers and pharmacies that remove barriers and support the efficient achievement of best possible clinical outcomes for patients.”

Even though pharmacists are looking forward to playing a greater role in health care, the noted they are experiencing barriers that could get in the way of providing good patient care as the field evolves. 
• Major barriers to care for chains were bandwidth (93%) and reimbursement (92%)
• Health systems indicated that medication availability (96%) and spending time communicating with healthcare providers (85%) were major barriers 
• Highest ranking barriers for independent and specialty pharmacies were similar:
o Reimbursement (85% independent / 88% specialty)
o Contracting with payers (85% independent / 95% specialty)
o Contracting with manufacturers (84% independent / 95% specialty)

Pharmacies have indicated that staff augmentation, building relationships with prescribers, inventory management tools, data sharing, peer-to-peer networking and artificial intelligence advancements would be helpful in mitigating barriers to care. 

To learn more about and review the full results and findings from AmerisourceBergen’s Pharmacy Check-Up study, please visit: