NACDS to Employers, Policymakers: Pharmacies Key to "Consumer-Driven Healthcare"



June 5, 2013 (Arlington, Va.) — Following an Aflac survey that revealed concerns about Americans’ confidence in their ability to play active roles in “consumer-driven healthcare,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) reminded private-sector and government decision-makers about the public’s strong trust of community pharmacists as healthcare advisors, and about the ability of new pharmacy services — in conjunction with physicians and other healthcare partners – to help empower patients to improve their health.

Among the findings of the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report:

  • 72 percent of the workforce has not heard of the phrase “consumer-driven healthcare”;
  • 62 percent of workers believe the medical costs they will be responsible for will increase, while only 23 percent are saving money for potential increases;
  • 75 percent of workers said they think their employer would educate them about changes to their healthcare coverage as a result of reform, but only 13 percent of employers said educating employees about healthcare reform was important to their organization;

“Employers and government officials who are looking for solutions to the challenges of empowering patients for better health can find a reliable partner in community pharmacies,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “We know from research and from face-to-face interactions between pharmacists and patients that pharmacies are viewed as the face of neighborhood healthcare.”

Opinion research conducted for NACDS in July 2012 found that 91% of respondents reported having a great deal of confidence or some confidence in pharmacists as a source for health advice. NACDS’ survey also found that patients are enthusiastic about new pharmacy services, including vaccinations, health education, disease state testing and management, and programs like medication therapy management (MTM) that help patients succeed in taking their medications as prescribed.

“We found that patients value the community pharmacist’s role in helping them use medicines safely and stay healthy, and that they appreciate new and innovative pharmacy services that do even more to improve patient health and quality of life,” Anderson said. “While pharmacists are widely trusted and seen as highly accessible, they are particularly and extremely valued by those in the greatest of need. Pharmacy services also are recognized as keys to enhancing healthcare affordability.”

In addition to NACDS’ research, Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics survey has placed pharmacists in the top three among all professions — even beyond healthcare – for ten consecutive years.

“To take advantage of the tremendous value of community pharmacy, NACDS urges leaders in the private sector and public sector alike to pursue policies that maintain patients’ access to community pharmacies, and that leverage pharmacy services which improve patient health and healthcare affordability,” Anderson said. “Community pharmacies need to be leveraged in the healthcare delivery models of the future, if these models are going to meet with success in empowering patients to play a more active role in their well-being.”

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