Accountability, Responsibility, and Saving Costs
The buzz words say it all—“care coordination”—and together these 2 words sound as if it should be relatively easy to “coordinate the care” of patients across health care teams and locations. It should be simple to share information about a patient and come up with the very best way to treat him or her. Naturally, savings will start pouring in as soon as everyone on the health care team just works together. Right?
Not so fast. The conundrum is access to current patient records, communication between health care professionals, access to medications, medication reconciliation, and the list goes on and on. It simply doesn’t all happen so easily and efficiently in today’s health care system in the United States.
With this new supplement series—Directions in Pharmacy, under the guidance of our guest co-editor, Troy Trygstad, PharmD, PhD, MBA, and Editor-in-Chief Fred M. Eckel, RPh—we address the new health care landscape head on and zero in on how the pharmacist fits in and should fit in.
In this edition, which focuses on Care Coordination, we share some honest and insightful discussions about how care for patients actually works and how it can work in a variety of settings. Some innovative pharmacists are leading the way, and with this series we showcase their efforts. You’ll see a variety of perspectives that we hope will inspire and enlighten.
While defining this new landscape within our special supplement series, we also keep an eye out for what people are saying about accountable care organizations, the Affordable Care Act, and how they are affecting the pharmacy profession as a whole. The chair of the department of clinical practice at the UCSF School of Pharmacy, for example, says “We are building new ways for pharmacists to improve patient health—and even lower costs—to prepare students for what is truly a new day of pharmacy practice.” This “new day” is reflected this comment as well: “We’re in the era of ACOs, an era where whoever is providing health care is going to need to take responsibility for outcomes and costs across the spectrum of care,” says ASHP Chief Executive Officer Paul Abramowitz, PharmD, FASHP.
One of the recurring themes you’ll read in this Directions in Pharmacy issue is the rising cost of health care and how the coordination of care will—and does—make a huge difference in both the outcomes and the cost of that care. As Dr. Abramowitz says, those individuals providing the care will need to take responsibility for the results and the costs—all within coordinated efforts in a new model of care delivery.
Accountability, responsibility, and saving costs. Important goals for all concerned—and that includes the health care professionals on the team, as well as, in my opinion, the patient himself. Pharmacists are ready, able, and willing to participate in this new world and they should be included every step of the way.
Thank you for reading!
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer