Pharmacies are often the first port of call when we have a health problem. They can offer us advice and sell us over the counter remedies that prevent us from bothering our overly-burdened GPs. With the strain that the NHS is under it is vital that pharmacies reach out to communities even further, that they work on improving public health to improve outcomes for the population as a whole as well as the NHS. This article explores some ways that pharmacies can contribute meaningfully to the health of our nation.
Developing a model for deprescribing in hospital
According to Pharmacy Research UK deprescribing is a process of working with a patient to help them stop taking medicines that might be doing them more harm than good. As we know, most medicines have side-effects and the balance between benefit and cost of a medicine can change over the lifetime of a patient. To ensure patients are as healthy as can be, medicines, therefore, need to be periodically reviewed. It is felt that this is a difficult process for GPs to manage because they have so little time with patients to actually monitor the effects of stopping a certain medicine. Should a patient end up in hospital, however, they can be more closely monitored during the process and those in Hospital pharmacy jobs can work with them to ensure they are taking the most effective medication.
Developing Quality Indicators
According to the Government's Public Health Matters blog, 1.2 million people visit a pharmacy within the community every day. In order to be sure that they are improving health outcomes for these customers, it is essential that pharmacies develop quality indicators so that they can easily assess how they are doing. They should measure their accuracy in dispensing medicines, for instance, along with other measures such as how often they complete medicine reviews or their success in health testing or cessation programmes.
Improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities of the communities
Those working in pharmacies usually care passionately about the health needs of their local communities. Pharmacies should use this passion to drive their early testing services for disorders such as diabetes or other health checks as well as their smoking cessation and weight management services. It is through these initial services that we identify health problems and stop them in their tracks, or even prevent health issues from happening in the first place.
Consult patients on medication usage and contraindications
Readers of this blog will know how seriously we take health matters. We know how important it is to ensure that medicine is taken correctly and that any contraindications are not permitted to pass through the net. Pharmacists really are the last line of defence when it comes to medicine safety, they are the ones that communicate with patients in regard to how a medicine should be administered and they are the ones who should spot a problem where the use of multiple medications might lead to a contraindication. It is vital that pharmacies perform this role to the best of their ability in order to protect the health of the public.