Using Students Proves Prudent for Pharmacies

Student pharmacists can provide significant value for community pharmacies through their clinical interventions there.

The positive impact of employing a student pharmacist should not be discounted-according to a recent study, clinical interventions made by student pharmacists create significant value for both community pharmacies and the patients being served. The study, authored by Diana Jason, PharmD, during her time as a PharmD candidate at Southern Illinois University, sought to fill the void of information on the contributions pharmacy students can bring during advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE).

Conducted over a 10-week period, the study enrolled 14 pharmacy students working on their APPEs in 8 community pharmacies. The cost impact of each clinical intervention was correlated using Pharmacy OneSource's Quantifi software. Throughout the study, the students made a total of 1236 interventions, which were estimated to have an overall cost impact of $114,101, or $8150 per student. Of all the types of interventions carried out, patient counseling showed the greatest cost impact-an estimated total of $76,036.

The challenge that PharmD students face in their final year of pharmacy school when trying to secure a preceptor for APPE is underlined by the growing number of pharmacy programs starting up throughout the country, Dr. Jason wrote in the study. By highlighting the advantages of bringing in pharmacy students for experiential learning, she wrote, perhaps pharmacists would be more likely to do so.

Although some studies exist regarding the value of student pharmacists' clinical interventions, most of the data available were gathered in hospitals, according to Dr. Jason, leaving a lack of research gleaned from the community pharmacy setting.

Cost-savings for given preprogrammed interventions were correlated by Pharmacy OneSource through research on the part of the company, which used averages from pharmacies countrywide. Monetary assignments were established based on 3 main intervention types:

1. Those that promote adherence and proper medication use (exact value is based on the particular subtype of intervention)

2. Those that foster safety (including patient counseling)

3. Those that promote cost-effectiveness of care (exact value determined by specific intervention)

Some interventions were not associated with a monetary value, such as compounding and drug information. Despite the difficulty in assigning cost-savings in these instances, such interventions do provide a value to the pharmacy, Dr. Jason reported.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Government Prepares for Double-Barreled Flu Season

The Long, Hot Summer: Health Reform Debate Rages On

"Sin City" Casino Pharmacy Is a Healthy Bet