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The Ever Changing and Evolving Role of the Pharmacist

Posted Feb 03 2009 12:08am

One of the ways hospitals are focusing on medical errors is expanding the role of the pharmacist.  Drug stores by history had paid more than pharmacists at hospitals earned but the gap is getting closer there as well.  You also find pharmacists working with biotech companies today with research and development with drugs and treatment plans. 

Drug therapy is becoming more complicated not only for the physician, but also for the pharmacist, in other words it comes around to teamwork and some highly effective software programs to manage and keep everything together.  The pharmacists that work in the drug stores are probably some of the best skilled in this area as they work with software systems day in and day out, just fill prescriptions and having to read illegible handwriting at times, but responsible for getting the medication and dosage correct, one big reason they are proponents of e-prescribing as well. 

Speaking of e-prescribing, there is a link on this site any physician can use to sign up for the free NEPSI program if you do not have an electronic medical record system that is handling it, and there’s the 2% bonus pay for Medicare by using an e-prescribing program.  BD 

Hospital-based pharmacists typically work in two areas: in-house pharmacies where prescriptions are filled for patients; or alongside doctors and nurses in clinical rotations, helping to treat patients at their bedsides.

With drug treatments becoming more complicated and pharmacists getting more involved with patient care, the demand for them has grown, prompting more competition for new graduates.

"Pharmacists are spending much more of their time working with patients to prevent medicine-related problems," said Ed Szandzik, director of pharmacy at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. That demand is driven by changes in insurance policies, such as the creation of Medicare Part D in 2006, that have made prescription drugs more affordable, Szandzik said.

At the same time, many hospitals are implementing programs that give pharmacists greater oversight in monitoring for drug errors, an effort that could be compromised if they're not able to fill staff positions, said Caroline Gaither, an associate professor of social and administrative sciences at the University of Michigan, who has studied work force supply among pharmacist

Metro Detroit medical centers struggling | | The Detroit News

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