Pharmacists Should Help Address Social Determinants of Health

Pharmacy TimesNovember 2023
Volume 89
Issue 11

With appointment-based models in community pharmacy, researchers have noted that community pharmacies are well suited for identifying and addressing social determinants of health.

We all know that pharmacists are the medication experts, but pharmacists are also increasingly involved in addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) in their communities.

As the most accessible health care providers, pharmacists have frequent interactions with patients and are well positioned to address other challenges impacting their health, including housing insecurity, transportation obstacles, food access, and more. With the introduction of appointment-based models in community pharmacy and advancing roles of technicians, researchers have noted that community pharmacies are well suited for the task of identifying and addressing SDOH.1 Of course, this task does not come without barriers. Key problems to address include workflow shifts, reimbursement, and training.1

elderly female in consultation with pharmacist for medication box, pills or product in store. | Image Credit: C Daniels/ -

C Daniels/ -

Addressing women’s health needs and disparities in care2 is one way for pharmacists to get involved in SDOH issues. In this issue, the Cover Feature by Kathleen Kenny, PharmD, RPh, addresses the many questions and ongoing confusion surrounding abortion and contraception access. Although questions remain, the article is a great opportunity to catch up on the latest legal decisions and what they mean for pharmacy.

This month’s Consultation Corner feature article, written by Ashley Gallagher, discusses the vital role of community-based pharmacy care. Educators and experts are increasingly highlighting the “community” part of community pharmacy, although this shift requires a closer look at the business model of pharmacy and how those models must change for community pharmacies to reach their full potential.

Of course, in the midst of all of these efforts surrounding SDOH, pharmacists are as busy as ever with immunizations. The Rx Focus article by Jeannette Y. Wick, MBA, RPh, FASCP, reviews data on the recently approved COVID-19 booster shots and provides answers to many common patient questions.

The OTC Focus article written by Yvette Terrie, BSPharm, RPh, also addresses COVID-19 as well as the common cold and influenza. In addition to guiding patients to the best OTC products for these concerns, pharmacists should advise patients on when to see their physician. This step is particularly important for pediatric patients, older patients, and those with other medical conditions.

For more on any of these topics and others, be sure to check out

And as always, thank you for reading.

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