From the Publisher: The Pharmacist's Role in Patient Care

FEBRUARY 01, 2009
Michael J. Hennessy

Over the years, Pharmacy Times has been tracking the evolution of the pharmacists' role in the health care system. Now more than ever, you are tasked with performing safety checks, informing patients about how to administer their medications, helping them choose from among a host of OTC remedies, and even sometimes helping them navigate their often complex prescription drug coverage.

The recent emergence of walk-in clinics, the patent expirations of major blockbuster drugs, and the availability of more medications without a prescription will all contribute to increased patient reliance on the pharmacist as the last point of contact before he or she takes a medication. These shifts have given rise to a relatively new acronym, MTM, for medication therapy management, and a host of challenges from training to reimbursement.

Of course, none of this is news to you. If you have not seen an increase in your "in front of the counter" time counseling patients, you are the exception rather than the rule. Through a series of roundtables on MTM, we have learned that many of you view this change as an inevitable and welcome development that is consistent with your desire to become a pharmacist in the first place. Others see the changes with varying degrees of hesitation; the big questions many of you seem to have are how to manage the increased demands on your time.

Our goal at Pharmacy Times is to inform you about these trends and help you find the information you will need to navigate today's diverse pharmacy environment. Our coverage continues to evolve to help you meet these challenges. That evolution includes our recent multipart series on "Pharmacy as a Health Care Destination," which will be featured again in future issues, and a new regular department covering the administration of specialty pharmaceuticals, which you will find on page 18. We hope you enjoy these new areas of coverage, and we encourage your feedback on future coverage that will help us continue to provide "practical information for today's pharmacist."

In the meantime, our February issue focuses on the ever important topic of infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on the important role you play. I hope you enjoy the issue.

Thank you for reading.

Michael J. Hennessy