Point-of-Care Tests in Pharmacies Could Expand Pharmacist Roles

Point-of-care tests could help the local community pharmacy become a neighborhood health center.

I don’t typically comment on a specific product launch because I don’t want it to seem like I’m favoring a particular manufacturer, and I’m often not familiar with the science behind the device.

Concerning the recent availability of Roche’s speedy cobas Strep A test, however, I want to offer same observations on how such a test could help the local community pharmacy become a neighborhood health center.

This example of a point-of-care test could enable the pharmacist to provide a diagnosis and suggest treatment. Although some might argue this is not the pharmacist’s role, I think it can and should be in the future.

We have a growing shortage of primary care providers, so why not let the trained pharmacist enter this arena? Point-of-care testing can take the guesswork out of the diagnosis equation. Under treatment guidelines, it could allow the pharmacists to initiate first-line therapy.

This seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved, as the patient receives quick, quality service at less cost.

Am I too far off base for pharmacy's future?