What Exactly Are the Roles of Pharmacies in Healthcare?

What comes to mind when you think of a pharmacy? If you are a baby boomer, you probably still recall the older style where there was a booth where you sat and had some homemade ice cream while your mother or grandmother picked up some needed prescriptions. If you are Generation X or Millennial, the idea of a pharmacy probably evokes a vision of a large chain store such as Walgreen’s where you can not only get your meds but also a decent amount of groceries. Whatever your vision of a pharmacy is, there is no question that it has played an important role in our nation’s healthcare. How so? Consider some of these notable factors:

The Customers

The customers are the ones who make the pharmacy what it truly is. Of course, they can be a little picky, but the great majority of pharmacists realize that they are there to serve the customer. So the next time you ask something that might seem like a daunting question to you, please realize that chances are the pharmacists are so experienced that they have not only heard the question before, but they have a readily available solution for it.

The People

Generally, a pharmacy will consist of retail pharmacists, clinical pharmacists, long-term care pharmacists and many other types as well. This is because the best pharmacies realize that isn’t just the drugs that make up the pharmacy; the knowledgeable experts that have spent years in school preparing for their career are the ones who make the pharmacy what it is. Pharmacy technician jobs are highly competitive with many people struggling for the top spot.

The Technology

It is truly brave new world for technology, even in your local pharmacy. This isn’t even talking about the chain pharmacies. There are so many ways that technology has evolved to help people with medicine. Here are some ways that pharmacies are redefining their roles in this modern age: 

  • Electronic Prior Authorization: Electronic Prior Authorization (ePA) is now a widely recognized way of assisting patients with obtaining prescriptions. ePA comes in two different forms: retrospective, where an initial denial of the claim is now approved; and introspective, in which the ePa is initiated by the prescriber themselves. 
  • Medication Therapy Management (MTM): This simply refers to an organized system where all medications are listed under one umbrella. This system originally started with Medicare Part D patients, but it has now expanded to almost all patients. 
  • Fighting Back Against Substance Abuse: New techniques are being developed to stop individuals from abusing prescription drugs. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) and prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) are both systems that work to prevent this social problem from continuing.

As you can see, the pharmaceutical industry is well into the 21st century. They realize that making these cutting-edge changes will improve our everyday lives, and that what it all boils down to.

Simon Greenberg

Simon is a health tech enthusiast who believes information technology can bring major improvements in healthcare cost and quality. He is currently working on ways to improve how we can connect and interact with our healthcare system. You can find him on and .

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