Pharmacists expect role to expand by 2030; 2 more survey findings

Amid a worsening healthcare provider shortage, many people trust pharmacists to play a larger role in their care management, according to research findings released Jan. 11. 

Researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City and Express Scripts Pharmacy surveyed more than 3,000 patients, 1,000 pharmacists and 500 providers such as physicians and nurse practitioners, to explore pharmacists' evolving role in patient care. The survey was conducted from November to December 2021. 

"The results of the report are clear. Most people trust pharmacists to play a greater role in providing their care," said John McHugh, PhD, study author and assistant professor in the department of health policy and management at Columbia Mailman School. "As the shortage of doctors and nurses persists, and as complex new therapies and digital healthcare technology solutions are developed, the role of the pharmacist will continue to evolve." 

Three findings:

1. Seventy-seven percent of patient respondents agreed pharmacists are an integral member of the care team. About 76 percent of respondents said they'd be extremely or very comfortable with pharmacists checking their vitals. 

2. When asked about the pharmacy industry in 2030, most pharmacist respondents indicated they expect to take on more direct patient care responsibilities. For example, more than 80 percent of pharmacists agreed or strongly agreed that they will take on more patient counseling responsibilities and take on more of a role in preventive care measures. 

3. When asked about patients with chronic conditions, nearly 80 percent of provider respondents indicated a high level of trust when it comes to pharmacists performing outreach to patients to discuss medications. About 60 percent of all provider respondents indicated a high or moderate level of trust for pharmacists to provide additional health support. Among providers who have prior experience collaborating with pharmacists on multidisciplinary teams, about 72 percent indicated a high or moderate level of trust for pharmacists to provide additional health support. 

Express Scripts Pharmacy is a home delivery pharmacy and is part of Evernorth, a healthcare solutions company. 

To view the full findings, click here .

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