Making Wellness a Priority

Pharmacy Times Oncology Edition, October 2015, Volume 2, Issue 4

The wellness movement is gaining momentum, shifting the United States from a system of "sick care" to one of "health care."

The wellness movement is gaining momentum, shifting the United States from a system of “sick care” to one of “health care.” Health care organizations are focusing less on treating disease and more on preventing it. Mobile technology has become a key tool in this transition by increasing patient accountability and building partnerships between patients and providers. Through the use of mobile fitness trackers and apps, patients are monitoring and managing their medications and food intake, documenting side effects, and becoming better-informed patients. The information contained in these technologies is a tremendous resource, and health care providers are primed to harness it to personalize patient care by integrating it within electronic health records. The data can then be used to drive decision-making and meet the ultimate challenge: increasing positive patient outcomes. Pharmacists, with their knowledge, education, and accessibility to patients, are the natural choice to become pioneers in utilizing these data to improve patient outcomes by working more closely with patients and partnering with primary care providers to share information.

As leaders in health care, pharmacy executives can create opportunities for new service delivery models that demonstrate value to patients and payers. As with any proactive approach, dollars spent up front will usually save money in the long run. Since the majority of employed Americans under 65 years spend their waking hours at work, investing in workplace wellness programs has the potential to boost population health. In order to be successful, however, these programs need to be well-designed and focus on improving health outcomes and reducing the risk of disease.

The articles in this issue of Directions in Pharmacy provide background on the wellness movement and insights on building a successful wellness program that takes into account the high-deductible plans developing as a result of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the increase in patient accountability. In-depth perspectives on how wellness programs in the workplace actually work and real-world examples are also included, such as specialty pharmacy programs that are seeing positive results from unconventional approaches. Our goal is to provide our readers with timely content that is at the forefront of innovation in the field. Let’s make the worthy endeavor of working toward wellness a priority.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy, Sr

Chairman and CEO