By Nathan Hanson, PharmD, MS, BCPS; Healthtrust Supply Chain
As we push for provider status and other new possibilities, let’s focus on actually doing the things that we are already allowed to do!
It is good that we are not satisfied with the status quo because that fuels us to continue to create new possibilities. It reminds us that our patients need the services that we can provide, so we need to keep pushing for the ability to provide them. However, as we knock on the doors of new possibilities we may be missing out on the possibilities already available to us!
Thinking Inside the Box
While we need to keep thinking outside the box, let’s put some creativity into making our current box work as well as it can. In other words, let’s make the best of the current circumstances. We in pharmacy often let the perfect become the enemy of the good. If we will instead push into some of these innovative practices that are currently options for us, we may find that it helps us make more rapid progress in the future. You will have real life examples of patients you have helped to strengthen your business case. You will have specific barriers you have encountered that we can advocate to eliminate. You will have built the infrastructure and expertise to capitalize on new opportunities as they are developed.
Interested? Here are 4 ideas of areas to explore with your team and your leaders.
Yes, it is complicated. No, the payment structure does not provide your organization with easy money. But we really can serve our physicians and nurses on our teams by providing our medication expertise to patients who need the access. If you get something going you will be able to find that there really are some opportunities for reimbursement. You can start building your team, building relationships, and making a difference in patients’ lives.
The information is changing by the day, but a couple things are clear: A lot of patients will need to be vaccinated, and pharmacy can help. Did you know that pharmacists, interns, and technicians are authorized to administer the vaccine? Tune in to webinars, get trained, and talk with your team about how you can support the testing and vaccination efforts.
Reducing Waste and Patient Costs
Fixing the problems with waste disposal and the cost of healthcare is far above our pay grades. However, did you know that if a patient is on an inhaler or other multiuse item in your hospital, it is legal for you to send it home with them at discharge? An authorized practitioner must order it, and written instructions for use must be sent with the patient at the time of discharge. This is a great way to reduce your waste and helping a patient at the same time.
How do you utilize your staff to perform basic quality assurance activities in the pharmacy? Ask yourself, “Does this job actually require a pharmacist? Could a technician check this process?” Of course there must be a strong process in place, and of course the pharmacist and the managers must verify that everything is being done safely. But too often we limit our technicians just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Check out the Tech Check Tech best practices document on the MSHP website for information about this program.
Not Easy – But a Great Start
Brainstorm about these areas with your team. Do you have questions? Never hesitate to reach out to us for clarification. We may not know the answer, but we can point you in the right direction. If we creatively tackle current problems and current opportunities, we will be ready to take on more responsibility and more opportunities in the future. To paraphrase, we need to be faithful with what we have if we want to be entrusted with more. Start looking in to these opportunities to see what you can accomplish in your world, today.
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