We are witnessing new measures being implemented in the pharmacy (and all retailing) and healthcare community that may serve to provide better access to care, at lower costs and in a more sanitary environment. Examples include more flexibility for patients to visit with their providers through a variety of technology and media,the emphasis and expansion of telehealth visits, and expanding pharmacy delivery services.
We are learning to change and adapt more quickly. In the past four weeks, pharmacies have been working, numerous innovative preventive measures have been implemented rapidly:
•Emphasizing curbside and drive-through usage
Implementing social distancing procedures using a variety of visual markings/signage and clear barriers to contact
Using new protocols to manage and control viral exposure in the pharmacy, including processes to minimize frequent surface contact
•Hourly handwashing and workstation sanitizing
•Using personal protective equipment
Working with patients to manage medication needs to avert creating shortages
•Providing remote counseling, education, and ongoing follow-up
Out of necessity, pharmacists have now created an environment that is more attuned to infection control yet allows us to still provide care. Perhaps some long-term efficiencies will be the result of this “new normal?”
Pharmacy stands to benefit as well from states easing access to pharmacist-provided services and other waivers that will allow us to “step up to the plate” during these challenging times. I believe patients are becoming more appreciative of our advice and counsel as they seek to assess their situation and home environment. Pharmacists are using their compounding skills to ease the shortage of hand sanitizers. They are providing careful assessment and recommendations to patients to ease panic and hoarding behavior.
#InnovationBeyond the Store