Pharmacists Need to Master Digital Channels, Managing Complex Diseases, Behavioral Health to Meet Future Demand

Pharmacy Times spoke with George Van Antwerp, MBA, managing director of Deloitte, about where he sees the pharmacy field going in the next 20 years.

Pharmacy Times® spoke with George Van Antwerp, managing director of Deloitte, about where he sees the pharmacy field going in the next 20 years. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed developments forward exponentially, Van Antwerp said, including issues such as technology and value-based reimbursement for pharmacists.

Several issues contribute to the adoption of a value-based care model, Van Antwerp said, including new technology, changing sites of care, and recognizing the pharmacist as a provider. All of these areas have been pushed forward in recent months, with massive shifts to telehealth, providing care in home environments, and legislation allowing pharmacists to take a leading role.

Van Antwerp said pharmacy delivery channels will also shift in the future as new innovations require pharmacists to adapt. For example, traditional retail pharmacies could become more comprehensive health care sites and local distribution hubs by utilizing virtual pharmacists and data sharing. Similarly, complex specialty treatments could become more common at specialty medical centers, as traditional specialty medications are moved into retail health environments.

As all of this change becomes evident in the coming years, however, Van Antwerp said some aspects of pharmacy will not change.

“My hope is that the core foundation of the pharmacist’s role—which is being a trusted, local resource that really understands medicine and can help that patient—doesn’t change,” Van Antwerp said. “They’re still highly accessible, they’re still that trusted resource.”

Video slides courtesy of Deloitte.

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