3 top trends for the pharmacy industry in 2021 from CVS Health report

CVS Health released March 9 its annual Health Trends report, in which the company examines the top trends in healthcare. 

Three top trends for the pharmacy industry in 2021, according to the retail pharmacy giant:

  • Pharmacy will continue to be the most frequent healthcare touchpoint in 2021. A recent survey from the National Pharmacist Workforce Study showed that pharmacists have been more active than ever in their traditional roles, which include counseling patients and connecting them to other services, CVS Health said. Pharmacists have become go-to experts and trusted experts during the pandemic, and that trend will continue into 2021.

  • Social determinants of health. A study published in the AJMC showed that social factors account for more than a third of total deaths every year in the U.S., but efforts to address social determinants of health in traditional medical settings have been challenging, CVS Health said. Pharmacists have the opportunity to help people facing challenges related to their social determinants of health, such as food insecurity.

    "We’ve found people are not only open and willing to share social needs with their pharmacists, but in many cases they listen to and act on the advice and recommendations of pharmacists," Peter Simmons, vice president of transformation, pharmacy delivery and innovation at CVS Health, said.

    CVS started a pilot program called HealthTag in which pharmacists include local resources along with medication directions in prescription bags, including details on how to get help with food, housing and transportation through local community services.

  • Machine learning. Machine-learning insights can help pharmacists manage their patients' chronic conditions. At CVS, some pharmacies are participating in a pilot program in which an analytics engine regularly reviews medical and pharmacy data to identify patients who might be at risk for nonadherence or negative outcomes. The engine then prioritizes those patients for one-on-one counseling with a pharmacist. 

Find the full report from CVS Health here

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