The Clinical Pharmacist: A Powerful Role in Accountable Care Organizations
The clinical pharmacist has gradually evolved in influence from the early 1980’s to a new point of power with healthcare reform, especially in anticipation of Accountable Care Organizations. While some may have an extended clinical role out of their community pharmacy (e.g., nursing home services), I’m not talking about the dispensing pharmacist behind the counter at your local pharmacy. I’m talking about the highly trained drug treatment specialists with extensive clinical experience who now play an even more influential role in the increasingly managed healthcare delivery system.
I’m talking about the clinical pharmacists who evaluate and make formulary recommendations for treatment options within large healthcare systems, managed care, Pharmacy Benefits Managers, government agencies (think CMS), and at healthcare insurance companies. I’m talking about clinical pharmacists who are rounding in the hospital with attending physicians; monitoring, evaluating, and consulting on drug treatment. And, I’m talking about clinical pharmacists who are delivering and managing chemotherapy and other intravenous drug treatments in the outpatient or home health settings.
Clinical Pharmacy’s power comes from the ability to influence formularies and reimbursement decisions, draft treatment guidelines, and recommend treatment choices. They are frequently involved in clinical trials and may find themselves increasingly involved in designing, executing, and evaluating “comparative effectiveness” studies.
More importantly, clinical pharmacists could be in the best position of healthcare providers to monitor and manage patient compliance and adherence to treatment, ensuring that treatment outcomes and quality metrics improve, and patients realize the full benefit of drug treatment after the prescription has been written.
The intensifying cost consciousness of the managed healthcare market being driven by healthcare reform and the opportunity for financial incentives from Accountable Care Organizations will further elevate the relevance, importance, and value of the drug treatment expertise of the clinical pharmacist.
It is important for pharmaceutical marketers to understand and appreciate the increasingly influential role of the clinical pharmacist in the evolving new healthcare market. See why in the next post. email@example.com