Shaping the Future of Patient Care
Steven C. Anderson,IOM, CAE—Mr. Anderson is presidentand chief executive officerof the National Associationof Chain Drug Stores(NACDS).
With the presidential election just a couplemonths away, there has been a lot of talk onboth sides about "change." And when thenext president and new Congress take office inJanuary, one of the top issues on their agendawill be health care reform. Pharmacy is poisedto play a significant role in shaping the futureof patient care in America, and pharmacy studentswill be a large part of the future of ourprofession and industry.
For the past several years, NACDS hasworked together with numerous pharmacyrelatedstakeholders to develop new modelsfor pharmacy care. Medication therapy management(MTM) is one example that canimprove outcomes for patients with chronicdiseases and reduce health care costs. Pharmacypractice models such as MTM offer rewardingopportunities for pharmacists, while creatingmore value for the profession.
Think about the impact that pharmaciescan have. Failure to take medicines properlycosts an estimated $177 billion annually,and poorly managed chronic diseaseshave a staggering human and economicprice. A recent government report showeda dramatic rise in emergency departmentvisits from 1996 to 2006. If we "unleashthe power of pharmacy," however, we canimprove adherence, control costs, and helpreduce the need for emergency visits andcatastrophic care. As health care costs spiralupward, innovative approaches that utilizethe expertise of pharmacists are essential tocreating genuine reform.
NACDS is sounding the drumbeat todemonstrate and quantify the value of pharmacy.This summer, we introduced NACDS?"Principles for Healthcare Reform." Theprinciples highlight pharmacy?s ability tohelp improve the accessibility, affordability,and quality of patient care.
Without a doubt, "change" is coming.Now is a great time to embark on a careeras a community pharmacist. Pharmacists,already critical to our health care system,can look forward to an even bigger andmore fulfilling role.