Pharmacy is at a crossroad. The medication therapy management (MTM) ball must be carried into the end zone if pharmacy is to survive as a profession. Pharmacy has been at the goal line before in the past decade and failed to score when a transformational pharmaceutical care opportunity presents itself. Once again, we are in the red zone with the opportunity to score. If we fail, I fear that pharmacy will become irrelevant as a profession.
The current model of pharmacy practice is rapidly becoming archaic. The traditional pharmacy model of "count, pour, lick, and stick" is neither justifiable nor sustainable for the second highest paid member of the healthcare team. Technology can be leveraged to utilize robotics, bar code scanning, and efficient workflow systems.
Pharmacists are medication experts. Licensed professionals charged with ensuring optimal medication therapy for our patients. Dispensing is not a role at the top of our licensed capacity. While correctly dispensing a diabetes medication is critical for patient safety, in no way ensures therapeutic efficacy. We must become fully engaged in managing medication therapy, practicing at the top of our licenses.
I applaud organizations like Outcomes, Mirixa, and others advancing the cause of MTM. However, pharmacists are barely scratching the surface of potential. A small but growing number of passionate pharmacists are practicing MTM and I am encouraged to see their efforts rewarded. However, it is time to engage all pharmacists in retail chain and independent settings. You own your license and now is the time to use it to advance our profession. Actively seek ways to engage patients and assist prescribers by incorporating medication therapy management into your practice.
A plethora of data has proven MTM is cost-effective and improves clinical outcomes. That is not even in question. Data shows that for every $1 of MTM cost at least $4 in healthcare savings is achieved. You can be confident that the effort is worth it. The question is, will pharmacists universally embrace the MTM practice model into the playbook? Can we deliver in the clutch?
It won’t be easy, especially at first. Resistance may come from patients, prescribers, and even employers. Worst of all, it may come from other pharmacists. Words like practice, patients, engage, and therapy management may seem foreign at first. Persevere. Embrace them. Practice them. Live them. Take ownership regardless of the practice setting. Let this be the pharmacy revolution that takes back our profession.
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