It's Tough to Be a Pharmacist Today

It's tough to be a pharmacist today, but what a bright future we have before us.

It’s tough to be a pharmacist today because the role of the pharmacist is changing as the health care system changes. Even though we know the status quo isn’t sustainable, we have a hard time embracing change.

We think we can just hold onto pharmacy as it has been and the next generation of pharmacists can handle the new role. But, change doesn't wait until we’re comfortable; it happens whether or not we want it.

The health care system is moving ahead, but it’s not quite there yet, and that’s why it’s tough to be a pharmacist today.

For example, most community pharmacists are still paid based on the number of prescriptions they fill, but they’re being told that they have to embrace “pay for performance” because it’s the future reimbursement model that Medicare and most other payers will be using, even though it isn’t used for most transactions yet. How can a pharmacist possibly prepare to embrace this new approach when most of the work is still paid for by “fee for service”?

It’s tough to be a pharmacist today because we have to live in 2 different practice worlds: the world as it has been, where we’re paid for the prescriptions we fill, and the new world in which today’s pharmacy students are being trained, where we’re paid for the value we help create.

Keeping your staff motivated through this phase of change is hard. Preparing for a future that isn't here yet can be really difficult. You can't afford to get too far ahead because the revinue isn't there to support it, but if you don't keep the future in mind, you will eventually be left behind.

Yes, it’s tough to be a pharmacist today, but what a bright future we have before us.